Late Surge Puts Spartans Ahead of Elon Phoenix Women’s Basketball

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team could not answer a late run by UNCG in the final four minutes of the game as the Spartans claimed a 73-62 win over the Phoenix today, Jan. 4, in Fleming Gym.

Elon (5-9, 1-2 SoCon) finished 28-of-56 from the field to shoot 50 percent but was only sent to the line a total of five times, converting three of those attempts, while 40 of its points came in the paint. UNCG (5-9, 1-2 SoCon) shot 43 percent (25-of-58) and converted 19 of its 23 trips to the free-throw line for an 83 percent mark.

The Spartans earned the advantage on the boards, 35-29, and forced 24 Elon turnovers, scoring 21 points off those possessions.

“Closing the game is doing the little things,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We talked before the game about doing that with excellency. Most notably is taking care of the basketball. We had 24 turnovers and we have to find a way to limit those because that created more offensive opportunities for them and they were able to capitalize. I felt like we did a great job of getting the ball inside to Shannen (Cochraham). I think we had an advantage and wanted to establish an inside presence and she did an outstanding job for us.”

The Phoenix saw a career-high 19 points from Shannen Cochraham who went 9-of-15 from the field and also grabbed five boards. Kelsey Harris also put up double figures with 12 points off six field goals. Sam Coffer pulled down a team-high seven boards.

UNCG’s Lucy Mason scored a game-high 22 points off seven field goals and six free throws to lead the Spartants.

Elon opened the game on a 6-0 run off two baskets by Lauren Brown and one by Cochraham. The Spartans responded and eventually took the lead by as much as six, 22-16. A three by Lenaira Ruffin capped a 10-4 run for the Phoenix to even the score at 26-all with 4:42 on the clock. Elon regained the lead by four, 34-30, forcing a UNCG timeout after Harris grabbed an offensive rebound and put the ball back in for a score. The first frame finished with the Phoenix holding a 34-31 advantage over the Spartans.

The maroon and gold shot 55 percent in the first half, while UNCG was held to a 33 percent mark. Much of the Spartans’ success came at the charity stripe, where the team went 11-of-13 (85 percent). Elon was not sent to the line once in the first 20.

A three by Zora Stephenson in the first minute of the second half put the Phoenix ahead by six, 37-31, before the Spartans managed a 15-6 run to go ahead, 46-43, at the 12:18 mark. Back-to-back baskets by Ruffin off a three and a fast-break jumper pulled Elon within two, 52-50, with under nine minutes to play before a Brown knocked down a pair of free throws to even the game at 52-all. Baskets by Cochraham and Harris would keep the Phoenix within four points before, 64-60, before UNCG finished the game on a 9-2 run to take the 11-point victory.

Elon has a week until its next game on Saturday, Jan. 11, when the Phoenix travels to Davidson to for a 2 p.m. game in Belk Arena.