BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Elon women’s basketball team was not able to complete a comeback tonight, Feb. 11, suffering a 65-59 loss at Samford in the Pete Hanna Center. The Phoenix falls to 12-11 on the season and 9-5 in Southern Conference play, while the Bulldogs are now 12-12 (9-6 SoCon).
“I felt like tonight we had some defensive lapses, so we need to get a little more defensive focus,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We also need to shoot the ball better, which we didn’t particularly do this weekend. We’re going to get back in the gym, get shots up and regroup and refocus.”
Kelsey Evans led Elon with 21 points and seven rebounds, going 9-for-11 from the charity stripe. Ali Ford also finished in double figures with 13 points and four assists. Zora Stephenson went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc to contribute nine points.
Elon finished 21-of-59 from the field to shoot 35 percent and 33 percent from three-point range. Samford shot 37 percent from the field, including an impressive 43 percent from long range. The Bulldogs took the slight advantage on the boards, 39-38.
The Phoenix trailed 16-9 in the early going with all nine points coming from Evans. A jumper by Jessica Farmer then sparked a 7-0 run for the maroon and gold to pull even with Samford at 16-all with 5:44 to play.
After the Bulldogs went back up by six, 26-20, a three by Stephenson and a jumper by Shon Redmond cut the Phoenix deficit to one with just over two minutes remaining in the first half. Samford finished the first frame with five straight to lead by six, 31-25, at the break.
Both teams shot over 30 percent from the field and three-point range in the first half, while the Phoenix held the rebounding advantage, 22-18.
A Stephenson three in the beginning minutes of the second half put Elon within three, 33-30, before the Bulldogs claimed a 12-point advantage, 50-38, with nine minutes remaining in the game.
Down by 13 with just under 4:54 to play, an old-fashioned three-point play by Ford and a three by Stephenson helped Elon to six quick points and put the Phoenix within striking distance, 55-48.
The maroon and gold cut the Bulldog lead to five, 57-52, after a steal by Redmond turned into a fast-break layup with 1:51 left on the clock. Free throws on both ends made it a four-point game, 61-57, with 38 second remaining, but Samford was able to maintain its advantage and finish with the six-point victory.
Elon’s next game will be on Saturday, Feb. 16, when the Phoenix travel to local conference opponent UNCG for a 2 p.m. tip.