ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team (16-11, 9-7) closes out the road portion of its regular-season schedule with a game at Hofstra (18-9, 11-5) on Sunday, March 1, in Hempstead, N.Y. Tip is set for 1 p.m. in the Mack Sports Complex.
Last Time Out
For the sixth straight game, it came down to the wire for Elon but the Phoenix was unable to take the win, falling, 54-51, at Drexel. With 18.2 seconds remaining, a Jenifer Rhodes layup put the maroon and gold within one, 52-51, before Elon was forced to foul the nation’s leading free throw shooting team. The Dragons went to the line and converted both chances to make it a three-point Drexel lead, 54-51. The Phoenix was unable to make either of its opportunities from three in the final 13 seconds as Drexel held on to win as time expired. Rhodes led the Phoenix with 10 points and five rebounds. Sam Coffer followed with eight points, while Zora Stephenson and Josepha Mbouma tallied six points each.
Scouting the Pride
Hofstra is coming off a big win in its last game, knocking off league leader and then unbeaten James Madison, 63-62, on the road. The Pride has not played since that game on Feb. 22 and will play its last regular-season home game against the Phoenix. The Pride owns a +4.7 scoring margin advantage and hold opponents to 58 points per game. Hofstra has a strong presence on the boards with a 40.9 rebounds/game and a 4.9 advantage over opponents. Kelly Loftus is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 12.4 points per game, while Ashunae Durant, who has earned CAA Rookie of the Week six times this season, posts 11.5 points/game. Elo Edeferioka comes close to averaging a double-double with 9.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game and ranks third in the league on the boards.
The only other meeting between Hofstra and Elon happened just two weeks ago in Alumni Gym on Feb. 15. The Pride took the 1-0 advantage in the young series after a 55-53 victory. Sunday marks Elon’s first visit to Mack Sports Complex.
The Century Mark
On Dec. 21, Sam Coffer played her 100th game in a Phoenix uniform and has now earned the start in over 100 games after the game against College of Charleston on Jan. 11. Teammate Zora Stephenson reached the same mark of 100 games played on Dec. 31 against Lenoir-Rhyne followed by fellow senior Shannen Cochraham, reaching the 100 games played mark on Feb. 27 at Drexel.
If The Season Ended Today…
Elon would be the fourth seed in the 2015 CAA Women’s Basketball Championship. The Phoenix would play fifth-seeded Delaware in the quarterfinals on Friday, March 13, at 2:30 p.m. This year’s tournament is being held at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md.
Seniors Zora Stephenson and Sam Coffer are both moving up the list in Elon’s record book. Stephenson has made 219 three-pointers in her career and is currently third in the record book in that category, just 15 triples from tying second. Her 73 baskets from three this season already ranks seventh on Elon’s single season record list. Coffer currently ranks fourth on the all-time blocked shots record list with 123 career blocks.
The Phoenix women’s basketball team is nearing a program marker of 600 wins. Elon currently has 599 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, 573-445, in bench points. Sophomores Lauren Brown and Jenifer Rhodes have been a big part of the team’s depth with the two players each averaging 8.3 points per game, respectively.
Elon currently ranks second in the conference and 49th nationally with 4.7 blocked shots/game, while Malaya Johnson (1.3) ranks fifth and Sam Coffer (1.1) ranks eighth in the league in blocks. 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
On the defensive side of the ball, Elon is second in the league in blocked shots (4.7/game), fifth in field goal defense (39.5 percent), sixth in three-point field goal defense (31.4 percent) and fifth in steals (7.7/game).
From the Field
Elon is first in the CAA in field-goal percentage and fifth in field-goal percentage defense. The Phoenix owns a 42.4 shooting percentage 27 games into the season, while holding opponents to 39.5 percent. Malaya Johnson is first in the league with her 54.3 shooting percentage, while Jenifer Rhodes (46.7 percent) and Shay Burnett (45.8 percent) rank 10th and 11th, respectively.
Beyond the Arc
The Phoenix is shooting 35.1 percent from the three-point line and is third in the league in the long-distance shooting category. The team is sixth in three-point defense with opponents only shooting 31.4 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 (39.3 percent) ranks second and Zora Stephenson (37.2 percent) ranks sixth. Stephenson also ranks 31st nationally with 2.7 three-point field goals per game.
Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her fourth season with the Phoenix and owns a 66-55 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 to Alumni Gym to host Delaware in its home and regular-season finale on Wednesday, March 4. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will also mark senior night for seniors Shannen Cochraham, Sam Coffer and Zora Stephenson.