ELON, N.C. – Kelsey Evans became Elon’s all-time blocked shots leader as the senior notched four blocks to help the Elon women’s basketball team to a 70-59 win over Georgia Southern tonight, Jan. 28, in Alumni Gym, marking the sixth straight home win for the Phoenix. Elon closes out the month of January with a 7-1 record to improve to 11-8 overall and 8-2 in Southern Conference play, while the Eagles fall to 4-15 (3-7 SoCon).
“Before the game we talked about making a statement and how you respond after a loss,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “I’m glad we were able to pull out the win tonight, even if it wasn’t pretty. This puts a little bit more momentum back in our game.”
Evans also recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Ali Ford led all players with 23 points and notched three steals. Ford knocked down two threes and is now two shy of breaking the SoCon’s all-time record.
Elon also saw impressive performances from starters Kelsey Harris and Sam Coffer. Harris marked her second double-double of the season with 10 points and tied her career high of 11 rebounds. Coffer was the third Elon player to finish with double-figures on the boards tonight after tying her career high of 11 as well.
The Phoenix tied its season high on the glass, hauling down 50 boards to outrebound the Eagles by 10. Overall, Elon went 26-of-68 from the field to shoot 38 percent and finished with 38 points in the paint. GSU shot 37 percent from long distance but only managed a 29 percent clip from the field (17-of-57).
Elon struggled in the beginning part of the first half, falling behind by nine, 25-16, at the 7:53 mark. The Phoenix then put together an 11-0 run, which was capped by a Ford jumper, that spanned five and a half minutes and gave Elon its first lead of the game, 27-25 with 2:33 left.
A three by Ford helped the maroon and gold to its largest lead of the first frame, 30-26, before the Eagles responded with a three by Anna Claire Knight with nine ticks left on the clock to pull within one, 30-29, at halftime.
With the Eagles leading by one early in the second half, 36-35, Elon used a 10-2 run off six points by Evans and four by Ford to claim a seven-point edge, 45-38, with 11:12 to play.
GSU would answer and tie the game for the sixth time at 47-all at the 8:33 mark. The score remained close for the next several minutes with neither team taking more than a three-point advantage until six straight points by Harris put the maroon and gold ahead by seven, 63-56, with just over two minutes to play.
After a layup by Evans kept the Phoenix in the lead by six, 65-59, with 1:28 left on the clock, the Eagles were forced to foul to attempt a comeback. Elon answered the challenge, hitting 5-of-6 from the charity stripe in the final 42 seconds to finish with the 11-point victory.
Elon will head to the mountains to take on Appalachian State on Saturday, Feb. 2, in Boone, N.C. The game is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and will air on ESPN3.com.