NEWARK, Del. – The Elon women’s basketball team made its first Colonial Athletic Association game a memorable one with a 60-50 win at Delaware today, Jan. 4, in the Bob Carpenter Center. The Phoenix (8-4, 1-0 CAA) saw 10 points from each Zora Stephenson, Malaya Johnson and Lauren Brown in its conference debut over the Blue Hens (5-7, 0-1 CAA).
“We were happy to get the win and I’m proud of our girls,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We talked about making history today. No other team is going to be able to play this game – the very first CAA game. I felt like we did a great job of our focus defensively. Our press defense created some havoc and we were able to capitalize off some turnovers and that gave us a lot of energy and momentum.”
The Phoenix went 25-of-52 on the day to shoot 48 percent from the field and claimed a 44 percent mark from long distance (7-of-16). Elon also claimed 32 points in the paint and held an 18-4 advantage with its bench. Delaware finished 36 percent from the field off an 18-of-50 performance, including 38 percent from three, and shot 69 percent from the charity stripe. Elon claimed the advantage on the glass, 35-34, and scored 25 points off 23 UD turnovers.
Johnson went 5-of-7 on the day to reach her 10 points, while Essence Baucom tied a career-high nine assists and finished with nine points. Sam Coffer, Mackenzie Darrah and Baucom all finished with five rebounds to lead the squad on the boards.
After the Blue Hens scored the first basket of the game, Elon used the next 2:51 to go on a 12-0 run that was sparked by a Burnett three to lead 12-2 with 15:48 on the clock. Delaware responded and managed to hold the Phoenix scoreless for five minutes before Baucom found Johnson for a layup to make it a 14-10 game. With the game tied at 18-all, a Stephenson three with 6:28 to play put the Phoenix back up by three, 21-18.
A missed Phoenix free throw allowed an offensive rebound for Coffer that turned into a long-range jumper by Brown to start a 8-0 run for the maroon and gold. Brown proceeded to hit back-to-back threes, both assisted by Baucom, to give Elon its largest advantage, 31-20, and force a Blue Hens timeout with 1:50 remaining. With 32 seconds on the clock, Coffer hit Elon’s sixth three of the half to keep the Phoenix up by 11, 34-23, at the break.
The Phoenix shot 56 percent in the opening frame off a 14-of-25 performance, including a 6-of-8 mark from three (75 percent). The Blue Hens went 7-of-26 to shoot 27 percent and were 0-of-5 from long distance. UD led on the boards, 19-17, while Elon held a 15-3 advantage in points off turnovers.
Delaware pulled within six, 38-32, at the beginning of the second half before a three by Stephenson and a basket by Baucom put the Phoenix back up by 11, 43-32, at the 15:22 mark. A steal by Baucom near Elon’s basket led to a Stephenson layup to keep the lead at double digits, 45-35, with 13:05 on the clock.
After a layup by Rhodes at the 6:25 mark gave the maroon and gold its biggest advantage, 55-42, the Blue Hens answered with the next five points to make it an eight point game, 55-47. Baskets by Johnson and Coffer allowed Elon to move ahead, 59-47, with under five minutes remaining and kept UD to only one more basket the rest of the game to finish with the double-digit advantage.
Elon returns home to host its first home CAA contest in just two days on Tuesday, Jan. 6. The Phoenix takes on the Drexel Dragons in a 7 p.m. tip in Alumni Gym.