STATESBORO, Ga. – The Elon women’s basketball team (17-12, 14-6) posted its third straight win tonight, March 4, by way of a 76-65 final over Georgia Southern (7-22, 6-14). Kelsey Evans posted a new career high of 31 points, marking the most points by a player in the maroon and gold this season. The victory closed out the regular season for the Phoenix and secured the third seed in the upcoming Southern Conference Tournament.
“Amazing and outstanding night for Kelsey tonight,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “Our game plan was to pound the ball inside and we felt like she could get the job done. One of the great things about this team is that we have a balanced act and have a lot of people capable of scoring. But when someone is hot, you’ve got to call her number and Kelsey was the go to player tonight.”
Evans also set another career high with 14 field goals, hitting 14-of-17, and posted five boards and two blocks. Her performance marked the first 30+-point game for a Phoenix since March 17, 2011.
Ali Ford and Kelsey Harris each finished with nine points, while Harris led the team on the boards with seven rebounds and also dished out five assists.
The Phoenix shot a blistering season-high of 56 percent from the field, going 31-for-55, and hit 41 percent from three-point range (5-of-12). Elon saw 21 points from its bench, while also claiming the advantage on the boards, 32-27. The Eagles finished with a 38 percent shooting clip from the field (20-of-52) and 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Elon got on the board quickly in the first half with two baskets by Harris and a three by Ford to lead 7-0 just one minute into the game. GSU responded and kept the score close until a Zora Stephenson three put the Phoenix back up by seven, 28-21, at the 8:35 mark.
A three by Ford followed by an Autumn Carter layup helped the maroon and gold to an eight point edge, 33-25, with just over four remaining until the break. A layup by Evans with 35 seconds left on the clock gave Elon its largest lead of the half, 38-29, before the Eagles’ Anna Claire Knight hit a jumper to make it a 38-31 game in favor of the Phoenix at half.
Both teams shot well in the first frame with Elon hitting 16-of-32 to shoot 50 percent from the field, including 40 percent from long distance, and GSU claiming a 46 percent mark.
The Phoenix took control in the second half, using baskets by Evans and Carter to go up by 14, 49-35, with 16:42 on the clock. The Eagles pulled within eight of the Phoenix, 60-52, with just under eight minutes to go before Elon quickly regained its double-figure advantage with the next four points.
The maroon and gold took its largest lead of the game, 71-56, after a Ford three and free throws by Jessica Farmer with just over three to play. The Eagles were not able to threaten and the Phoenix held on to its advantage for the 11-point win.
Elon will play its first game of the conference tournament on Saturday, March 9, against the winner of Friday’s Samford/Wofford matchup at 6:45 p.m. in Kimmel Arena on the campus of UNC Asheville in Asheville, N.C..