ELON, N.C. – Off a season-high 27-point performance by Zora Stephenson, the Elon women’s basketball team finished out its fourth game in eight days with a 77-68 win over College of Charleston today, Jan. 11, in Alumni Gym. The victory moves the Phoenix to 10-5 on the season and 3-1 in Colonial Athletic Association play, while CofC falls to 3-12 (1-3 CAA).
“This was a long stretch and to come out of it 3-1, I’m really proud of this team,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “There were times this week we were really tired but I felt like we were mentally focused to get the job done. I’m just excited and thrilled for this start in the CAA.”
Stephenson went 7-of-13 from three, one shy of her career high, en route to eight field goals on the day and a perfect 4-of-4 from the line. Elon finished 24-of-57 from the field to shoot 42 percent on the day and went 10-of-29 from three for a 35 percent mark. The maroon and gold outplayed the Cougars’ league-leading three-point field-goal defense as CofC was holding opponents to a 28 percent clip from beyond the arc. The Phoenix converted 19-of-21 attempts from the charity stripe for a season-high 91 percent from the line.
Malaya Johnson and Lauren Brown also finished in double figures for the Phoenix with 10 points each, while Shay Burnett fell just shy of a double-double with nine points and eight boards and also recorded five assists.
The Cougars finished 43 percent from the field (27-of-63), after a 57 percent mark in the second half, along with 32 percent from three and 73 percent from the line. CofC won the battle on boards with a slight 37-36 advantage. Breanna Bolden led the Cougars with a game-high 29 points after 11 field goals on the day.
Stephenson hit two of her threes in the first three minutes to give Elon an early 10-4 lead. After a CofC basket pulled the Cougars within three, 12-9, at the 14:16 mark the Phoenix put together a 13-1 run, holding the Cougars without a field goal (0-for-9) for eight minutes to lead 25-10. The fifth triple of the game for Stephenson as the shot clock expired gave the maroon and gold its biggest advantage of the half, 30-13, at the 4:47 mark.
CofC cut its deficit to 11, 33-22, in the final two minutes of the half before Stephenson’s sixth three and a jumper by Rhodes with three ticks left on the clock put the Phoenix up 38-24 at the break.
Elon went 15-of-32 to shoot 47 percent in the first half, including 7-of-17 from three for a 41 percent mark. CofC was held to a 30 percent clip from the field (10-of-33) and only hit 2-of-10 from long distance but held the advantage on the boards, 22-20.
The Cougars came out of the half strong and used a 16-4 run to pull within two of the Phoenix, 42-40, with 14:40 on the clock. Two hit free throws by Johnson and a three by Brown from the wing moved Elon back ahead by seven, 47-40, at the 12:51 mark.
CofC managed to take its first lead of the game, 49-47, with 9:50 remaining. Down by one, 53-52, the Phoenix put together a 9-4 run capped by a three and a jumper by Stephenson for a 62-56 advantage with just over four minutes left to play. After a three by Brown with 1:15 left on the clock put the maroon and gold ahead by nine, 67-58, the Cougars were forced to foul to try and keep the game in reach. Elon converted all 10 of its trips to the free throw line to finish out the win.
The Phoenix welcomes league leader and reigning conference champion James Madison in its next game on Thursday, Jan. 15, for a 7 p.m. tip in Alumni Gym.