RICHMOND, Va. – A double-double by Sam Coffer and three players in double figures was not enough for the Elon women’s basketball team (2-1) as VCU (2-1) handed the Phoenix its first loss of the season in a 93-76 final today, Nov. 17, in the Verizon Wireless Center.
“I feel like we ran out of gas and that made if difficult on the defensive transitions,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “VCU is an outstanding team – very athletic and up-tempo. Any time you score 76 points in a game, you give yourself the opportunity to win. We just didn’t get it done on the defensive end. We have a chance to learn from this game and get better because of it. We need to improve on ball movement and be more aggressive off the bounce.”
The Phoenix made 30-of-71 shots from the field to shoot 42 percent, while the Rams went 36-of-74 to shoot 49 percent and scored 40 points in the paint. Both teams made nine threes, while VCU won the slight edge on the boards, 47-45. Elon shot 58 percent from the charity stripe compared to 55 percent for VCU.
The difference for the day came on turnovers as the Rams held a 23-to-11 assist-to-turnover ratio, while the Phoenix turned the ball over 19 times.
Coffer scored 18 points, going 8-of-13 from the field to mark a new career high in field goals made, and hauled down 10 boards to mark her second double-double of the season. Zora Stephenson recorded a season-high 21 points after an 8-for-13 performance from the field, including 5-for-9 from beyond the arc. Kelsey Harris finished with 16 points, while also recording six assists and no turnovers.
Elon erased a six-point first half deficit, using an old-fashioned three-point play by Harris and a jumper by Lenaira Ruffin to take a 13-11 lead at the 14:41 mark. The Rams had an answer to everything the Phoenix on offense, managing to go up by as much as 13 in the opening frame. A three by Lauren Brown with six seconds on the clock closed the gap to 10 for the Phoenix as VCU led 49-39 at the half.
Harris led the Phoenix in the first period with 12 points, while Stephenson scored 10 with the help of two threes. The maroon and gold shot 44 percent from the field compared to 53 percent for VCU. Both teams were even on the boards with 22 rebounds each.
The Phoenix cut the deficit to seven, 55-48, in the early minutes of the second half after a jumper by Coffer and a three by Stephenson at the 15:59 mark. Elon continued to go to work, making it a six-point difference, 60-54, after Coffer grabbed and offensive board and put the ball in the bucket to force a Rams timeout with 13:57 on the clock.
With VCU still leading by just six, the Rams managed a 9-0 run in a three-minute span to move the score to 72-57. Stephenson answered with a three to end the drought for the Phoenix, 72-60, but the Rams continued to surge and held on to its advantage to defeat the maroon and gold for the first time.
Elon returns home for a game against East Carolina on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 2 p.m. in Alumni Gym.