ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team (11-7, 4-3) returns to Alumni Gym for its last home game of the month to host Northeastern (4-13, 1-6) on Sunday, Feb. 25. The game is set for a 3 p.m. tip and will also be televised on the American Sports Network. 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 suffered its first CAA road loss in its last game on Thursday in Wilmington, N.C. Despite trailing by only four points in the final minute of the game, Elon was not able to completely erase a 21-point deficit as UNCW took a 76-68 win. The Phoenix hit a season-high 11 threes in the game, nine of which came in the second half, to finish with a 42 percent mark from beyond the arc. Five of those baskets from long distance were scored by Zora Stephenson who finished with a team-high 15 points. Lauren Brown hit three triples on the night and had 11 points, while Sam Coffer scored 12 points and posted seven rebounds. Essence Baucom handed out seven assists and recorded three steals in the game.
Scouting the Huskies
Northeastern is coming off a tough 65-61 loss at Towson on Thursday and has only one conference win on the season with a victory over UNCW on Jan. 16. The Huskies are shooting 37 percent on the season from the field and 31 percent from beyond the arc. Northeastern ranks second in the conference in free throw percentage with a 72 percent mark. A’lece Mark, Samantha DeFreese and Tiffany Montagne all average in double figures with Mark leading the way with 13.8 points per game, which also ranks fifth in the league.
Sunday’s game will be the first meeting between Northeastern and Elon. The Phoenix makes the return trip to Boston on Feb. 19.
The Phoenix women’s basketball team is nearing a program marker of 600 wins. Elon currently has 594 overall wins since it began competition in 1971.
Spark of the Bench
The extra spark that Elon has had off the bench has been a tremendous asset so far this season. The Phoenix is out scoring its opponents, 372-285, in bench points. Sophomores Lauren Brown and Jenifer Rhodes have been a big part of the team’s depth with the two players averaging 7.4 and 7.3 points per game, respectively.
Elon currently ranks first in the conference and 46th nationally with 4.7 blocked shots/game. Malaya Johnson (1.3) and Sam Coffer (1.2) rank fifth and eighth in the league in blocks, respectively. 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 (4.7/game), third in field goal defense (37.7 percent), first in three-point field goal defense (27 percent) and fourth in steals (8.1/game).
From the Field
Elon is first in the CAA in field-goal percentage and third in field-goal percentage defense. The Phoenix owns a 41.7 shooting percentage 18 games into the season, while holding opponents to 37.7 percent. Malaya Johnson is second in the league with her 54.5 shooting percentage, while Shay Burnett (51.4 percent) and Jenifer Rhodes (46.1 percent) rank fourth and 10th, respectively.
Beyond the Arc
The Phoenix is shooting 33.3 percent from the three-point line and is third in the league in the long-distance shooting category. The team is first in three-point defense with opponents only shooting 27 percent from beyond the arc. Two Elon players currently rank in the top three in the conference in three-point field goal percentage. Lauren Brown ranks second (39.4 percent) and Zora Stephenson is third (38.6 percent).
Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her fourth season with the Phoenix and owns a 61-51 career record. Smith led Elon to its second straight Southern Conference Tournament semifinal appearance and a 10-8 overall conference record last season.
The Phoenix goes on the road for its next three games, beginning with a return trip to James Madison on Friday, Jan. 30, to close out the month. Tip against the Dukes is set for 7 p.m. in Harrisonburg, Va.