ELON, N.C. – What’s old is new again as the Elon women’s basketball team (9-5, 2-1) renews a conference rivalry with College of Charleston (3-11, 1-2) as the Cougars visit Alumni Gym on Sunday, Jan. 11, for a 2 p.m. tip. Tickets can be purchased through the Elon Ticket Office. Admission is $15 for courtside seats, $8 for reserved seats and $5 for youth (12 and under).
Last Time Out
The Phoenix extended its conference road record to a perfect 2-0 after a 72-59 win at William & Mary on Friday. Elon led for almost the entire game, out-rebounded the Tribe, 43-33, and saw four players in double figures en route to the victory. Lauren Brown scored a career-high 18 points off a career-high four threes after a 6-of-10 overall performance from the field. Jenifer Rhodes posted her first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 boards. Malaya Johnson finished with 13 point, while Essence Baucom scored 12 points and handed out six assists.
Scouting the Cougars
CofC is coming off a 69-57 loss to UNCW on Friday after claiming a 55-49 win over Delaware on Tuesday. The Cougars are 3-11 on the season under first-year head coach Candice Jackson. CofC’s leading scorer and rebounder is Breanna Bolden who is averaging 10.8 points and 6.6 boards per game. She also ranks second in the conference with an 80 percent free throw percentage and leads the CAA with 3.5 steals per game. Erin Hall also scores in double figures with 10.1 points per game. As a team, the Cougars rank first in the league in three-point field goal percentage defense, holding its opponents to a 28 percent mark from beyond the arc.
While this is Elon’s first season in the CAA, the Cougars are familiar opponents for the Phoenix. The two programs played twice a season while both were members of the Southern Conference from 2004-13. CofC holds the series record, 14-9, but Elon has won five out of the last six meetings, including a 63-56 victory in the last game in Charleston, S.C., on Jan. 20, 2013.
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 2-1 with one game remaining.
Elon currently ranks first in the conference and 30th nationally with 5.0 blocked shots/game. Sam Coffer is fourth in the league in blocks with 1.4 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 (5.0/game), second in field goal defense (37.6 percent), third in three-point field goal defense (28.6 percent) and fourth in steals (8.3/game).
The Century Mark
On Dec. 21, Sam Coffer played her 100th game in a Phoenix uniform and has now earned the start in 99 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 42.9 shooting percentage 14 games into the season, while holding opponents to 37.6 percent. Malaya Johnson leads the league with her 58.7 shooting percentage, while Shay Burnett (51.2 percent) and Jenifer Rhodes (50.6 percent) rank fifth 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 28.6 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 (44.9 percent) and Zora Stephenson is eighth (35.3 percent).
Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her fourth season with the Phoenix and owns a 59-49 career record. Smith led Elon to its second straight Southern Conference Tournament semifinal appearance and a 10-8 overall conference record last season.
Elon plays its next game on Thursday, Jan. 15, when it hosts league leader and reigning conference champion James Madison in Alumni Gym for a 7 p.m. tip.