ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team (4-3) plays the first of a two-game road stretch with a matchup at Campbell (5-3) on Wednesday, Dec. 17, in a 3 p.m. tip in Buies Creek, N.C.
Last Time Out
Despite a 17-2 run in the final six minutes, Elon lost its first home game of the season in a 66-50 setback to Vanderbilt on Sunday. The Commodores were the first Southeastern Conference team to visit Alumni Gym in program history. Vandy led by as much as 31 points but the Phoenix was able to cut the deficit to 16 in the end. Elon forced a team season-high 27 turnovers and scored 25 points off the Commodore miscues, while also tallying five blocks. Zora Stephenson scored a team-high 14 points and had three steals. Shay Burnett finished with eight points, while Sam Coffer scored six points and had two blocks and two steals.
Scouting the Lady Camels
Campbell is 5-3 on the season after a 21-point victory, 72-51, over Brevard College on Monday. The Lady Camels are on a two-game winning streak and shooting 41.3 percent from the field, which ranks third in the Big South Conference. Campbell leads the Big South in assists per game (16.4) with Raechaun Edwards who ranks ninth nationally with 6.3 assists/game. Kiera Gaines is averaging a double-double with 13.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game and also ranks sixth in the nation in offensive boards. Amanda Coffer leads the Camels with 16.8 points/game and is shooting 57 percent from the field, including 48 percent from three-point range.
The Lady Camels own the all-time series between the two schools, 19-11, which dates back to 1972. Since Campbell won nine straight meetings from 1984-2000, Elon has won five of the last seven meetings, including a 56-49 victory last year on Dec. 20 in Alumni Gym.
There will be two Coffers on the court when the Phoenix and the Camels play on Wednesday. Elon’s Sam Coffer will play against her younger sister, Campbell’s Amanda Coffer, for the second (official) time. While older sister Sam averages 9.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, the younger sister Amanda is leading her team with 16.8 points per game, averages 5.4 rebounds/game and has 19 blocks on the season. When the two teams played last year in Alumni Gym, Sam posted a career-high five blocks. On Nov. 24, Amanda was named the Big South Player of the Week after scoring a career-high 30 points at UNCW.
Elon posted a season-high 11 blocks in its game at NC State on Dec. 7. That mark tied a team-high mark under head coach Charlotte Smith. The only other time the Phoenix has recorded 11 blocks in a game in the last four years was at Georgia Southern on Jan. 13, 2014. Elon currently ranks first in the conference and 20th nationally with 5.7 blocked shots/game. Sam Coffer leads the league in blocks with 1.9 per game, while Jenifer Rhodes (1.2) and Malaya Johnson (1.0) rank seventh and ninth, respectively.
On the Defensive
The Phoenix defense has played strong so far this season and ranks in the top of several CAA defensive categories. Elon is first in blocked shots (5.7/game), third in field goal defense (38.1 percent), second in three-point field goal defense (26.4 percent) and fourth in defensive rebounds (26.3/game).
The Century Mark
Sam Coffer is nearing the century mark in career games played. The senior has played in 98 games so far in a Phoenix uniform and has earned the start in 92 of those contests.
Beyond the Arc
The Phoenix is shooting 33.3 percent from the three-point line and is fifth in the league in the long-distance shooting category. The team is second in three-point defense with opponents only shooting 26.4 percent from beyond the arc. Two Elon players currently rank in the top 10 in the conference in three-point field goal percentage – Lauren Brown ranks second (50 percent) and Zora Stephenson is sixth (37.3 percent).
From the Field
Elon is fifth in the CAA in field-goal percentage and third in field-goal percentage defense. The Phoenix owns a 39.3 shooting percentage six games into the season, while opponents are shooting a 38 percent mark. Jenifer Rhodes ranks fourth with her 50.0 shooting percentage, while Shay Burnett is currently eighth with a 47.7 percent mark.
Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her fourth season with the Phoenix and owns a 54-47 career record. Smith led Elon to its second straight Southern Conference Tournament semifinal appearance and a 10-8 overall conference record last season.
Elon remains on the road and plays its last game before the holiday break on Sunday, Dec. 21, against North Carolina in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The game marks the first time Elon head coach Charlotte Smith will face her alma mater and former head coach and mentor Sylvia Hatchell. Tip is scheduled for 3 p.m. in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.