ELON, N.C. – Elon University head women’s basketball coach Charlotte Smith announced the 2013-14 schedule for the Phoenix on Monday, Sept. 9. In addition to Elon’s challenging Southern Conference slate, this year’s schedule is highlighted by a Thanksgiving Tournament at Vanderbilt, as well as non-conference games at NC State and West Virginia.
Last season, the Phoenix finished 19-14 and 14-6 in SoCon play, marking its best ever record and finish (third) in Elon’s 10 years in the league. Elon returns nine letterwinners and three starters from last year’s team.
“We are excited about our third season here at Elon,” said Smith. “We have put together a challenging non-conference schedule that will expose our players to great conferences like the SEC, ACC and Big 12. We will face other quality opponents outside the always competitive Southern Conference for the second straight year in the likes of VCU, UNC Wilmington and East Carolina, which should all prove to be very exciting games.”
After an exhibition against Pfeiffer at home on Nov. 2, the Phoenix will open up the season in Alumni Gym on Friday, Nov. 8, in a 5 p.m. tip against Winston-Salem State. Elon has not faced the Rams since New Year’s Eve in 2009.
Elon hits the road for a game at future conference opponent UNC Wilmington on Wednesday, Nov. 13, before traveling to Richmond, Va., to face VCU on Sunday, Nov. 17. Both teams are opponents the maroon and gold picked up wins over last season.
Saturday, Nov. 23, begins a challenging stretch for the Phoenix as it hosts East Carolina inside Alumni Gym at 2 p.m. Next up is the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament in Nashville, Tenn., where Elon will face SEC-opponent Vanderbilt on Friday, Nov. 29, and either Wisconsin or Mercer on Saturday, Nov. 30, in the championship or consolation game. This will be the first ever game between the Commodores and the Phoenix.
Smith’s squad will then make a trip to nearby Raleigh on Dec. 8 to take on NC State for the second straight year.
SoCon play will begin in Alumni Gym on Saturday, Dec. 14, with a 7 p.m. game against Samford, followed by reigning conference champion Chattanooga at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 16. The Phoenix was the only SoCon team to knock off the Lady Mocs last season, claiming a 70-60 overtime victory.
Elon welcomes Campbell and Mount Olive in two games prior to the holiday break on Dec. 20 and Dec. 22, respectively. The last game the Phoenix and the Camels played in Alumni Gym came down to the wire with the maroon and gold claiming an 89-88 victory. This will mark the eighth overall meeting between Elon and Mount Olive with the last coming almost 20 years ago in 1994.
After the break, the Phoenix travels to play West Virginia for the third time in four seasons. The game on Sunday, Dec. 29, will be played in the Civic Center in Charleston, W.Va. The Mountaineers ended their season last year after falling to Delaware in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Phoenix will close out 2013 in Alumni Gym as it hosts a local opponent in North Carolina A&T on Tuesday, Dec. 31. The game marks 16th meeting between the two schools.
Saturday, Jan. 4, will mark the beginning of 2014 for Elon and its first of three straight road games. The Phoenix will play SoCon foe UNCG in Greensboro, N.C., before traveling to Davidson on Jan. 11 and Georgia Southern on Jan. 13. Elon won both its meetings against UNCG and Georgia Southern last season and split the series against Davidson with each team winning on its respective courts.
Elon will face Appalachian State and Western Carolina at home on Friday, Jan. 17, and Sunday, Jan. 19, respectively. The Phoenix picked up a big win over the Mountaineers in Alumni Gym last season, claiming a 75-58 victory in the final weeks of the regular season, while taking both contests over the Catamounts.
The maroon and gold closes out the month on January in South Carolina by taking on Furman in Greenville on Jan. 25 and Wofford in Spartanburg on Jan. 27.
The second half of SoCon play begins on Saturday, Feb. 1, for the Phoenix when it hosts UNCG. Games against GSU and Davidson will follow on Feb. 8 and Feb. 10. Elon will make the annual trip to the mountains in the middle of February to take on WCU on Feb. 15 and ASU on Feb. 17.
Wofford will visit Alumni Gym on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m. before Elon’s final home game of the regular season on Monday, Feb. 24, against Furman. The 7 p.m. tip against the Paladins will mark senior night for Kelsey Harris who returns as the team’s leading scorer after averaging nine points per game last season.
The Phoenix finishes the regular season on the road, making visits to the Lady Mocs in Chattanooga on Feb. 28 and to Samford in Birmingham, Ala., on March 2.
The 2014 Southern Conference Tournament will be held in Asheville, N.C., for the third straight season. The first round begins on Friday, March 7, with the championship game scheduled for Monday, March 10.