Elon Women’s Basketball Escapes Western Carolina with Win

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – It was another close game for the Elon women’s basketball team but the Phoenix was able to record its fourth straight win with a 65-61 final over Western Carolina today, Feb. 15, in the Ramsey Center.

“It feels exciting to get this road win,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “This is what we’ve been talking about for a long time – to take the show on the road.”

The Phoenix (12-12, 8-5 SoCon) finished 23-of-51 from the field to shoot 45 percent, along with a 46 percent mark from three. WCU (11-14, 5-9 SoCon) was held to a 32 percent clip after hitting 24-of-74 with 46 points coming from its bench. The Catamounts won the rebounding battle, 47-44.

Jenifer Rhodes and Zora Stephenson each scored a team-high 11 points for Elon. Sam Coffer and Kelsey Harris also finished in double figures with 10 points each. Harris, who fell just short of a double-double with a team-high eight rebounds, is now only 20 points away from reaching 1,000-career points. WCU’s Taylor led all players with 25 points and 10 field goals.

The first half was tight with neither team taking more than a four-point lead until a layup by Harris put the Phoenix up by five, 29-24, with under two minutes on the clock. A layup by Autumn Carter and a jumper at the buzzer by Harris helped Elon to a 33-27 advantage at the break.

Elon shot 57 percent in the first off a 12-of-21 performance from the field, while the Catamounts only hit 11-of-40 shots from a 28 percent clip. WCU took the slight edge on the boards, 23-21.

A jumper by Carter started the second frame and a 10-0 run for the Phoenix to make it a 37-27 advantage. The Catamounts answered and regained the lead, 41-39, after a three by Taylor and forced Smith to call a timeout. Back-to-back threes for Elon by Lauren Brown and Stephenson put the maroon and gold back on top, 47-43, with 11:07 on the clock.

The Phoenix took a 13-point advantage, 56-43, after a three by Stephenson and steal by Jessica Farmer on the following defensive possession turned into a basket for the sophomore, forcing a WCU timeout with 6:33 remaining. The Catamounts slowly climbed back in the game, pulling within five, 63-58, with under two minutes to play. Another three by Taylor made it a two-point game, 63-61, with only 10 seconds left in the game. On the next possession, Coffer was fouled and sent to the line, making both opportunities to give Elon the win by four.

The Phoenix plays next at Appalachian State on Monday, Feb. 17, in Boone, N.C., with tip set for 6 p.m.