ELON, N.C. – After playing its first road game of the season last week, the Elon women’s basketball team (3-0) returns home to Alumni Gym on Tuesday, Nov. 25, to host Liberty (2-1) for a 7 p.m. tip. Tickets can be purchased through the Elon Ticket Office. Admission is $10 for courtside seats, $5 for reserved seats and $3 for youth (12 and under).
Last Time Out
Elon picked up its third win of the young season in its first road game on Friday at Charlotte with a 67-54 victory. The Phoenix took its first lead less than three minutes into the game and never trailed again. Elon finished the game with a 43.4 percent mark from the field and shot 40 percent from beyond the arc, while the 49ers were held to a 32 percent clip and only hit one three in the game to go seven percent from long distance. Zora Stephenson notched a season-high 18 points after seven field goals, including four threes. Sam Coffer followed with 16 points after a 5-of-10 performance from the field (4-of-7 from three) from the field and notched a double-double with 11 rebounds. The senior also tallied four assists, two blocks and two steals in the game. Essence Baucom played well in front of a hometown crowd with a season-high nine assists.
Scouting the Flames
Tuesday’s game marks the first road game of the season for Liberty after a 2-1 record at home to start. The Flames are coming off a 76-75 overtime victory over Saint Joseph’s on Saturday after a win over VCU and a two-point loss to Charlotte previously. Liberty is averaging 74 points per game and owns a 41.9 field-goal percentage, while three players average in double figures. Sadalia Ellis and Ashley Rininger are both averaging 12 points/game, followed by Karly Buer with an 11.7 points average. Rininger is also averaging a double-double with 10.7 rebounds per game.
Tuesday’s game marks the first meeting in over a decade between the Phoenix and the Flames. Liberty leads in the all-time series, 11-3, and won the last two meetings, both of which were played in 2003. Elon’s last win came in Alumni Gym in 2002.
Only three games into the season, Elon and Liberty have an opponent in common that both teams have played. The Flames opened the season against Charlotte on Nov. 14 and lost by two points, 79-77, while Elon defeated the 49ers by 13 points, 67-54, in its last game on Nov. 21.
Elon is 3-0 on the season for the first time under head coach Charlotte Smith and the first time in the 21st century. The last time the Phoenix started 3-0 was during the 1997-98 season.
Baucom’s Helping Hand
Phoenix newcomer Essence Baucom’s helping hand has benefited Elon greatly so far this season. After a season-high nine assists at Charlotte on Nov. 21, the sophomore is averaging seven assists per game and ranks second in the CAA.
Sam Coffer posted Elon’s first double-double of the season on Nov. 21 at Charlotte. The senior recorded two season highs with 16 points and 11 rebounds, marking the fifth double-double of her career.
From the Field
Elon leads the CAA in both field-goal percentage and field-goal percentage defense. The Phoenix owns a 45.7 shooting percentage three games into the season, while holding opponents to a 35.1 percent clip. Rookie Malaya Johnson ranks fifth with her 52.6 shooting percentage, while Sam Coffer is currently eighth with a 50 percent mark.
Beyond the Arc
The Phoenix is shooting 37.1 percent from the three-point line and leads the league in the long-distance shooting category. The team is also second in three-point defense with opponents only shooting 19.7 from beyond the arc. Three Elon players currently rank in the top 10 in the conference in three-point field goal percentage. Lauren Brown ranks first (66.7 percent), Sam Coffer is fourth (43.8 percent) and Zora Stephenson sits in ninth (39.3).
Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her fourth season with the Phoenix and owns a 53-44 career record. Smith led Elon to its second straight Southern Conference Tournament semifinal appearance and a 10-8 overall conference record last season.
The Phoenix returns from the Thanksgiving holiday to take High Point in its next game. The Phoenix and the Panthers renew an over 40-year-old rivalry on Sunday, Nov. 30, at 3 p.m. in High Point, N.C.