CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team avenged its only lost of the Southern Conference season with a 63-56 win today, Jan. 20, over College of Charleston in TD Arena. The Phoenix has now won six straight and improve to 10-7 overall and 7-1 in SoCon play, while the Cougars fall to 7-10 (3-5 SoCon).
“I thought we did an outstanding job of boxing out in the first half and we needed to continue that energy into the second,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We came out flat at the start of the second half and we needed to focus defensively. Every game is important in conference play and we have to be mentally prepared for every game every time.”
Elon finished 24-of-54 from the field for a 44 percent shooting mark and shot 38 percent from beyond the arc. CofC went 19-of-63 for a 30 percent clip and only made seven of its 30 three-point attempts. The Phoenix forced 20 Cougar turnovers and turned them into 26 points, while also winning the rebounding battle, 43-40.
Kelsey Evans scored a game-high 19 points and hauled down eight boards. The senior tied Elon’s all-time blocked shots record with her one block of the game to reach 197 for her career.
Ali Ford recorded 13 points for the Phoenix after going 3-of-4 from long distance and dishing out four assists. Shannen Cochraham posted a new career-high of 10 points, while Shon Redmond finished with a game-high five assists.
Elon opened its scoring attack with a three by Ford, which moved her into the SoCon’s top-10 all-time scoring list. With the game tied at seven-all, the Phoenix used a 7-0 run to take its first significant lead of the game, 14-7, with 12:33 left in the half.
Fouls and turnovers limited the maroon and gold for a time in the first frame and allowed the Cougars to slip back in the game and pull within one, 18-17. A steal and fast break layup by Kelsey Harris helped Elon get back its groove and regain a five-point edge, 22-17, with 7:43 to play.
Back-to-back threes by Zora Stephenson and baskets by both Cochraham and Sam Coffer capped a 10-0 run for the Phoenix to go up by 12, 32-20. Elon took its largest lead of the half of 14 after a deep jumper by Harris made it a 38-22 game with just over a minute until the break. CofC scored five straight to make it an 11-point edge for the Phoenix, 38-27, at halftime.
Elon shot 53 percent from the field in the first 20, including 57 percent from long distance after making 4-of-7 threes. The Cougars struggled to make shots with a 24 percent shooting percentage in the first frame.
CofC came out strong in the second half, scoring the first seven points to cut its deficit to four, 38-34, and force an early Elon timeout. The Phoenix then used a 12-5 run, capped by an impressive play that ended with a Harris layup after a pass from Ford, which put the maroon and gold up by 11, 50-39.
With just over six minutes to play, the Cougars pulled within two of the Phoenix, 53-51, but Elon responded immediately with a three by Ford (her third of the day) to make it a five-point game.
Holding the same advantage of five with less than a minute to play, the Cougars attempt at a three failed and Elon was able to preserve the win with free throws by Ford to take a seven-point victory.
Elon will have a few days rest before traveling to play Davidson on Saturday, Jan. 26. Tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Davidson, N.C.