ELON, N.C. – It had been over two years since the Elon women’s basketball team played an overtime game but 40 minutes wasn’t enough to determine today’s game against visiting Northeastern in Alumni Gym. The Phoenix went on to claim an 80-77 victory over the Huskies after the game was tied at 68-all at the end of regulation.
In overtime, the Phoenix outscored the Huskies, 12-9. With the score still tied, 71-71, four straight points from Shay Burnett put Elon in the lead, 75-71, with 2:11 remaining. Northeastern closed the gap to two, 77-75, with 30 seconds left and was forced to foul.
After Zora Stephenson missed the first and converted the second opportunity, the Huskies made it a one-point game, 78-77, with three ticks on the clock. Stephenson hit both of her next chances at the line for the three-point advantage. Elon’s Lauren Brown then stole the ball on Northeastern’s inbounds attempt as the clock expired to secure the three-point maroon and gold win.
“I’m glad that we were focused in overtime and able to pull out the win,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We talked about overtime being our time and I felt like we did a good job offensively of making things happen. We got stagnant right before (end of regulation) and then I felt like we hit some good shots in overtime and were solid defensively.”
The Phoenix (12-7, 5-3 CAA) finished 28-of-63 from the field to shoot 44 percent and had seven baskets from long distance for a 37 percent mark. Elon went 17-of-26 from the charity stripe (65 percent) and won the battle on the boards 41-34.
Burnett posted a new career-high 21 points off another career-high seven field goals, including three triples, and had a team-high seven rebounds. Stephenson scored 13 points with the help of two threes followed by Lauren Brown, who hit all six of her trips to the line, with 11 points. Malaya Johnson recorded 10 points, while Essence Baucom finished with nine points and six assists.
The Huskies (4-14, 1-7 CAA) claimed a 48.3 shooting percentage after a 29-of-60 performance from the field and had eight threes (40 percent). NU’s Samantha DeFreese finished with a game-high 26 points after 10 field goals.
The Phoenix trailed by as much as five points in the opening half, 30-25, with 3:46 remaining. A deep three by Stephenson put the maroon and gold within two and sparked a 13-0 run for Elon. With five seconds left on the clock Brown hit a basket from long distance to close out a scoring run that lasted just under three minutes and put the Phoenix up by eight, 38-30, at the break.
Elon shot 50 percent in the first half with only two baskets from beyond the arc, both of which came in the final three minutes of play, along with a 73 percent mark from the charity stripe. The Phoenix held the edge on the glass, 20-13, and had 14 points off Northeastern turnovers. Despite being held scoreless for the final 3:46 of the half, the Huskies hit 48 percent from the field and 50 percent from three in the first frame but only converted 1-of-6 at the line (17 percent).
Leading 52-39 with 14:51 remaining in the second half, Elon used a three by Stephenson and a fast-break layup by Burnett off of a Brown steal to take an 18-point advantage, 57-39. The Huskies managed a 21-6 run to pull within three, 63-60, before Jenifer Rhodes broke the Elon scoring drought with a layup with just under five minutes to play. The Phoenix led by four, 68-64, with 2:03 on the clock but the Huskies managed four points in the next 59 seconds to even the score as both teams missed chances in the final minute to take the win.
Elon plays the first of its three straight road games with a match up at league leader James Madison on Friday, Jan. 30. Tip is set for 7 p.m. in Harrisonburg, Va.