ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team looks to get back in the win column when it makes a trip to William & Mary for its next game on Friday, Jan. 9. The Phoenix (8-5, 1-1 CAA) and the Tribe (6-7, 0-2 CAA) are set for a 7 p.m. tip in Williamsburg, Va., in Kaplan Arena.
Last Time Out
Elon suffered a 57-47 setback against Drexel in its last game to record its first conference loss. Despite the loss, the Phoenix outrebounded the Dragons, 42-28, and still shot 39 percent from the field. The maroon and gold cut a 17-point deficit to just eight points in the final three minutes but was not able to complete the comeback to win. Zora Stephenson hit all four of Elon’s triples in the game to finish with 12 points, while Shay Burnett claimed 11 points and Sam Coffer led the team with nine boards.
Scouting the Tribe
William & Mary has had a tough start to the conference season, beginning with a one-point loss at UNCW Sunday and a 77-69 overtime defeat at Towson on Tuesday. The Tribe is looking to break a four-game losing skid with its last victory coming on Dec. 18 at Wofford. W&M is second in the league in scoring offense, averaging 67.4 points/game, hits 35.1 percent from three and sits right behind the Phoenix in field-goal percentage with a 41.8 shooting percentage. The Tribe owns positive 3.1 scoring margin advantage, leads the league with 11 steals per game and is second in the CAA with a positive 2.38 turnover margin. Sophomore Marlena Tremba averages 15.9 points per game that leads the team and ranks fourth in the conference. Senior Jazmen Boone records 11.8 points/game, while freshman Abby Randle is the conference leader in blocked shots with two per game.
The Tribe and the Phoenix have only played four times previously with W&M holding a 3-1 advantage in the series. All four games were played from 1998-2003 with Elon winning the last meeting on Nov. 23, 2003, 57-49, in Alumni Gym. The Phoenix has never won in Williamsburg.
All 10 CAA teams are currently enduring the same tough stretch of games from Jan. 4 – Jan. 11 in which each team plays four games in that eight-day span. In the midst of the stretch, the Phoenix is currently 1-1 with two games remaining – one on the road and one in Alumni Gym.
Mark Your Calendars
Phoenix fans, mark you calendar for Elon women’s basketball’s annual Play 4Kay game on Sunday, Feb. 15, vs. the Hofstra Pride.
Elon currently ranks first in the conference and 30th nationally with 4.9 blocked shots/game. Sam Coffer is third in the league in blocks with 1.3 per game, while Malaya Johnson (1.1) ranks seventh. 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.
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 (4.9/game), second in field goal defense (38 percent), third in three-point field goal defense (29.4percent) and fourth in steals (8.5/game).
The Century Mark
On Dec. 21, Sam Coffer played her 100th game in a Phoenix uniform and has now earned the start in 98 games. Teammate Zora Stephenson reached the same mark of 100 games played on Dec. 31 against Lenoir-Rhyne.
From the Field
Elon is first in the CAA in field-goal percentage, ranking 62nd nationally, and second in field-goal percentage defense. The Phoenix owns a 42.6 shooting percentage 13 games into the season, while holding opponents to 38 percent. Malaya Johnson leads the league with her 58.8 shooting percentage, while Shay Burnett (52.5 percent) and Jenifer Rhodes (50.7 percent) rank third and sixth, respectively.
Beyond the Arc
The Phoenix is shooting 33 percent from the three-point line and is fourth in the league in the long-distance shooting category. The team is third in three-point defense with opponents only shooting 29.4 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 third (42.9 percent) and Zora Stephenson is seventh (37.1 percent).
Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her fourth season with the Phoenix and owns a 58-49 career record. Smith led Elon to its second straight Southern Conference Tournament semifinal appearance and a 10-8 overall conference record last season.
Elon returns home to Alumni Gym for its next game on Sunday, Jan. 11, to host familiar conference opponent College of Charleston in a 2 p.m. tip.