ELON, N.C. – The fifth-seeded Elon women’s basketball team will take on the fourth-seeded Appalachian State Mountaineers in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Southern Conference Tournament on Saturday, March 8, in Asheville, N.C. Tip is set for approximately 2:15 p.m. in Kimmel Arena on the campus of UNC Asheville. Tickets for Elon’s games are available through the Elon Ticket Office at 336-278-6750.
#5 Elon (14-15) vs. #4 Appalachian State (13-15)
Date: Saturday, March 8
Time: 2:15 p.m.
Site: Asheville, N.C. (Kimmel Arena)
Series: Appalachian State leads, 22-11
Last Meeting: Feb. 17, 2014, in Boone, N.C. – ASU won, 71-60
Radio: WSOE – 89.3 FM – Matt Krause and Ryan Balick will have the call
Twitter Updates: @ElonScores
A Look at the Phoenix
Elon capped the regular season with a 44-43 victory at Samford on Sunday, March 2. The Phoenix held off a pesky Bulldog team to finish the conference season with a 10-8 record, 14-15 overall, and earn the fifth seed in the conference tournament. Elon ranks first in the SoCon in three-point field goal percentage with a 38 percent mark thanks to Zora Stephenson who hits 2.4 threes a game and shoots 41 percent from beyond the arc. The maroon and gold is led by lone senior Kelsey Harris who averages 12.2 points per game and ranks 13th in the conference in scoring. Harris also ranks third in the league in assists (4.0/game) and second in minutes played (35.2/game).
Elon vs. Appalachian State
The Phoenix and the Mountaineers split the outcome in the two meetings this season with each team taking a win on its home court. ASU holds the advantage in the all-time series, 22-11, but Elon has won two of the last three meetings. The two schools have played each other twice in the SoCon Tournament with the Mountaineers coming out victorious in both. The last time Elon and ASU played in the conference tournament was in the semifinals on March 6, 2011, when the Mountaineers won, 72-48.
Scouting the Mountaineers
Appalachian State finished the regular season with back-to-back wins, including a 72-70 overtime victory over Davidson. The Mountaineers have won four of its last five games entering the tournament, is averaging 63.5 points per game and leads the league with a positive rebounding margin of 6.2, ranking first in rebounding offense (40.9/game) and second in rebounding defense (34.6/game). Junior Maryah Sydnor is the team and SoCon’s leading scorer with 19.5 points per game and ranks second in the league in rebounding with 8.8 boards/game. Sophomore KeKe Cooper also averages in double figures with 10.9 points/game and is first in the conference in field goal percentage with a 59 percent mark.
Three Elon players were honored as all-conference selections when the SoCon announced its all-conference teams on Wednesday, March 5. Kelsey Harris was named to the coaches all-conference team and the media all-conference second team. Rookie Jenifer Rhodes was selected as the Freshman of the Year by the league’s coaches and to the all-freshmen team by both the coaches and the media. Rhodes becomes the third player in program history to earn the rookie of the year distinction from the league. Lauren Brown was also named to both the coaches and the media’s all-freshmen team.
Elon in the SoCon Tournament
Elon has a 6-10 record all-time in the Southern Conference Tournament. The third-seeded Phoenix advanced to the tournament semifinals after a win over Samford, 70-60, last year before falling to second-seeded Davidson, 71-61.
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith knows a little something about winning championships. While playing collegiately at North Carolina, Smith hit a buzzer-beating three pointer to earn the Tar Heels the 1994 NCAA national championship. She also led UNC to back-to-back conference crowns her junior and senior seasons.
The 1,000 Point Club
On Feb. 22, Kelsey Harris became the 20th member of Elon women’s basketball’s 1,000-point club. The senior currently has 1,039 career points and is averaging 12.2 points per game.
In-State Tournament Play
Elon is 2-3 all-time in Southern Conference Tournament games played in the state of North Carolina. The Phoenix posted a 1-1 record in the 2010 tournament, topping Wofford in the quarterfinals before falling to Samford in the semifinals. After losing in its first game in 2012, Elon went 1-1 last season with an appearance in the semifinals against Davidson.
Elon holds a 22-23 all-time record in games played in March. As a player and assistant coach at UNC spanning 13 seasons, Elon head coach Charlotte Smith experienced a combined record of 60-20 (.750) in the month of March.
The Phoenix will look to add some extra weight to its bus right home Asheville as the Southern Conference Championship trophy weighs approximately 10.7 pounds.
Elon reached its highest scoring output in its first game of the 2004 SoCon Tournament when the Phoenix posted 84 points in a win over East Tennessee State. The maroon and gold recorded its second highest score with 70 points in its win over Samford last year. Ali Ford holds Elon’s record for most individual points scored in a SoCon tournament game with her 25 points in a 2011 game versus Furman. Kelsey Evans’ 14 rebounds against Appalachian State three years ago rank as the most in a single game by an Elon player since the school became a member of the SoCon.
The NCAA released its latest set of rankings on March 3 and Elon finds itself ranked ninth nationally in three-point field goal percentage with a 38.0 percent mark from beyond the arc (first in the league) and 17th in blocked shots per game (5.2/game).
The winner of the #4/#5 game will advance to the tournament semifinals to face the winner of the game that will see #1 Chattanooga versus either #8 Georgia Southern or #9 Wofford on Sunday, March 9, at 12 p.m. in the U.S. Cellular Center. The Phoenix has a 1-0 record over both Georgia Southern and Wofford in tournament play and a 0-1 mark against Chattanooga. The tournament semifinals and final will air on ESPN3.