GREENVILLE, N.C. – A three off the hands of Ali Ford to tie the game with 24 seconds left did not fall for the Elon women’s basketball team (4-6) as the Phoenix fell to East Carolina (9-3) by a final of 71-64 today, Dec. 29, in Minges Coliseum.
“I was very proud of the effort we displayed in the second half,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “I just wish we had gotten a better start in the first half. We started out really slow and we were digging our way out of a hole with a 13-point deficit. We have to find a way to start strong and finish strong.
“I was really proud of the effort we displayed today. It was a great team effort in terms of scoring. We have to put this game behind us and prepare for A&T on Monday.”
Kelsey Evans recorded her fifth double-double of the season after a game-high 20 points and 13 rebounds. Ford tallied 17 points and seven assists, while Kelsey Harris also scored in double figures with 11 points.
Elon finished 24-of-65 from the field to shoot almost 37 percent. ECU shot 36 percent from the field, including 43 percent (10-of-23) from long range. The Pirates’ Whitny Edwards and Kristine Mial both knocked down four threes in the game.
The Phoenix won the battle on the glass, 49-43. The team’s 49 boards marked the third best in a game for Elon this season.
The Pirates controlled most of the first half with the Phoenix cutting the deficit to no less than seven in the first 15 minutes. Down by 12, 39-27, with 3:24 left in the half, a three by Ford sparked a 10-0 Elon run to close out the first frame. Ford hit another shot from long range with three ticks left on the clock to pull the Phoenix within two at the break, 39-37.
Taking the momentum into the second half, a pair of free throws by Evans and one by Sam Coffer gave Elon its first lead of the game at the 18:33 mark, 40-39. The Pirates answered with a 9-3 run to regain the lead and go up by five, 48-43, with 16:20 left.
The maroon and gold would not let up and climbed back to grab a 60-59 lead off an Evans jumper with just under four minutes remaining.
Two made freebies by Ford put Elon within one, 65-64, at the 1:43 mark, but a jumper by ECU’s Britny Edwards gave the Pirates the edge by three, 67-64.
Evans’ 13th rebound of the game put the Phoenix in good position to tie the game as Ford took a three with 24 seconds left. The ball took a hard bounce off the board and landed in the hands of the Pirates’ B. Edwards. Four free throws as the clock wound down gave ECU the seven-point win.
Elon will close out 2012 with a 2 p.m. contest at nearby North Carolina A&T on Monday, Dec. 31, in Greensboro, N.C.