BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Elon women’s basketball team held off a fighting Samford team to finish the regular season with a 44-43 win today, March 2, in the Pete Hanna Center. The Phoenix finishes 10-8 in SoCon play and is 14-15 overall this season, while the Bulldogs fall to a 10-19 record (8-10 SoCon).
“We’re really excited that we were focused and able to keep the momentum going to come out with this win,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “I felt like in the second half, our offense got a little stagnant and we weren’t hitting shots. Before tournament time, we definitely have to get in the gym and get our confidence back in knocking down shots.”
Elon went 16-of-47 from the field to shoot 34 percent in the game with only one three and finished 11-of-15 from the charity stripe for a 73 percent mark. The Phoenix dominated on the boards, winning the rebounding battle, 44-23, keeping Samford to the lowest rebounding mark for any opponent this season. The maroon and gold saw 23 points from its bench, marking the 11th time this season the bench has contributed 20 or more points.
The Bulldogs finished 14-of-47 from the field (30 percent) and hit 8-of-23 shots from long distance, including six in the second half. Samford went 7-of-9 from the free-throw line for a 78 percent mark. The Bulldogs forced 21 Phoenix turnovers and converted those into 17 points.
Jessica Farmer and Sam Coffer each finished with eight points to lead the Phoenix, while Coffer also led the team on the boards with eight rebounds and tallied three blocks
Samford’s Kassidy Blevins and Hannah Nichols both scored a game-high 13 points with the help of three three-pointers from each.
A jumper by Farmer capped a 7-0 run for the Phoenix at the beginning of the first half to give Elon a 9-2 lead at the 13:34 mark. The Bulldogs responded with seven straight to even the game, 9-9, with under 12 minutes to play. With 6:36 left on the clock, a Kelsey Harris jumper ended yet another run in the game, this one an 8-0 streak for the maroon an gold, for a 17-9 Phoenix advantage. As the seconds ran off in the half, Coffer finished a layup with one tick on the clock to give Elon a 24-14 lead at the break.
Samford grabbed the momentum to start the second frame, scoring the first nine points of the half within six minutes to pull within one of the Phoenix, 24-23. The Bulldogs eventually took the lead, 27-26, at the 13:35 mark after a three by Nichols. With 12:01 to play, Coffer hit Elon’s lone three of the game to put the maroon and gold back on top, 29-27. The Phoenix would lead by five down the stretch, 38-33, with under six to play, but Samford kept fighting and made it a 44-43 game after a Blevins three with 1:56 left on the clock.
The Bulldogs’ Christy Robinson would put up a shot with 1:10 remaining that resulted in a block by Elon’s Shannen Cochraham. After a Phoenix turnover with 27 seconds left, Samford’s Nichols was sent to the line and missed the lone shot to tie the game. The Bulldogs got the offensive rebound and Kate Fletcher sent up a three as time expired that was blocked and batted down by Coffer to end the game and give the maroon and gold the victory.
Elon will be the fifth seed in the upcoming SoCon Tournament and will face the fourth seeded Appalachian State on Saturday, March 8. Tip is set for approximately 2:15 in Kimmel Arena in Asheville, N.C.