ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team won its fifth straight game after a 79-69 victory over Furman tonight, Jan. 18, in Alumni Gym. The Phoenix had five players score in double figures, including a game-high 21 points from Ali Ford, with the majority of the scoring coming in the second half.
“Once again, I felt like we came out and played Elon basketball in the second half,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We need to find a way to string together two halves. The way we played the second half there was a lot of energy in the building, there was excitement, we played together and it was great basketball. It was fun to watch as a coach and a fan. I’m excited that we got the win but there’s still room for improvement.”
Elon scored its most points in a game this season off a 29-of-60 performance from the field to shoot 48 percent after scoring 40 points in the paint. The Paladins finished 24-of-65 from the field with a 36 percent shooting mark. Furman was able to control the Phoenix on the boards, winning the rebounding battle, 47-29.
Candice Silas marked her comeback from an ACL injury in a big way, scoring 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting and three rebounds in nine minutes of play in her first game since November 2011. Kelsey Evans and Kelsey Harris also finished with 11 points, while Sam Coffer added 10 of her own.
Ford finished 6-of-13 from the field, including 2-of-4 from long distance, and knocked down all seven of her shots from the charity stripe. The senior also tied her career-high of eight assists for the third time this season. Harris dished out a new career-high six assists and was the team’s leader on the glass with seven rebounds.
On defense, both Evans and Jessica Farmer contributed two blocks each. That leaves Evans two blocks shy of breaking Elon’s all-time blocked shots record.
The Phoenix opened up its largest lead of the first half after a three by Zora Stephenson put the maroon and gold up by seven, 12-5, with 14:51 to play. After a basket by Silas left Elon with a five-point edge, 20-15, the Paladins managed a 6-0 run to take its first lead of the game, 21-20, at the 5:27 mark.
Furman led by four, 26-22, with a minute and a half left in the first frame before a layup by Harris and two good free throws by Autumn Carter tied the score at the break.
Elon came to life in the second half, using a 24-11 run, capped by a three-point play from Silas, to open up a 13-point edge with 10:47 left in the game.
Still up by 13 with 8:17 on the clock, Elon increased its advantage to 22 points, 68-46, in a span of just over two minutes after four points from both Ford and Harris and two from Coffer.
Furman cut the maroon and gold’s lead to 10, 72-62, with two and a half to play but a three by Ford as the shot clock wound down kept the lead alive and well. It was too little too late for the Paladins when the differential became eight with 21 seconds left and Elon held on to claim another conference win.
Elon will have a quick turn around as the Phoenix will play a 2 p.m. game at College of Charleston on Sunday, Jan. 20, in TD Arena.