Comeback Attempt Not Enough for Elon Phoenix Women’s Basketball in Raleigh

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team cut a 22-point deficit to eight in the first half after a 30-16 run but was not able to defeat NC State after falling, 88-73, today, Dec. 9, in Reynolds Coliseum. Ali Ford led all players with a new season high of 26 points, marking her sixth straight game in double figures.

“I’m just extremely excited about the way our team competed today,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “At one point we were down by a substantial amount and we talked about how that was an opportunity to cave in or fight. In the end, I’m proud of the way we fought.”

Elon finished 23-of-58 from the field to shoot 39 percent and 8-of-22 from three-point land (36 percent). NC State shot an impressive 54 percent from field-goal range, including 40 points in the paint, and finished 53 percent from beyond the arc.

The Phoenix held the advantage at the charity stripe as Ford went a perfect 10-for-10 to contribute to Elon’s 73 percent shooting from the line.

Elon was just outdone on the boards as NCSU finished with the advantage, 38-34. The defense was able to score 23 points off the Wolfpack’s 17 turnovers.

Zora Stephenson and Kelsey Harris joined Ford in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Ford also finished with a game-high six assists.

NC State jumped out to a strong 26-4 lead in the first in the first 10 minutes of the game. However, the Phoenix would not back down as a three by Stephenson sparked a 10-2 run for Elon to pull within 14, 26-14, with 8:27 left on the clock. The Wolfpack were forced to call a timeout after a jumper by Harris cut the maroon and gold deficit to 12 with just under four minutes remaining. Elon closed out the half with a 13-6 run to trail by only eight, 42-34, at the break.

Elon led NC State on the boards, 19-15, in the first half and shot 48 percent from the field. The Wolfpack outscored the Phoenix in the paint, 22-6, to shoot 51 percent in the first 20.

The Phoenix opened the second half on a 9-7 run to close the gap to six, 49-43. NC State then pulled away to make it a 21-point differential before back-to-back threes by Ford, a three-point play by Jessica Farmer and two free throws by Kelsey Evans put the maroon and gold back within 12, 74-62, with 6:17 left in the game. The Wolfpack were able to hold on to its advantage and finished the game with a 15-point edge.

Elon will host Morgan State in its final home game of 2012 on Thursday, Dec. 13. Tip is set for 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym.