HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – The Elon women’s basketball team held off the late-charging Hofstra Pride for a 64-58 win today, March 1, in its final road game of the regular season in the Mack Sports Complex and its first win over a team higher than Elon in the conference standings.
The Phoenix led by as much as 26 points in the first half before the Pride was able to pull within two with less than three minutes remaining. A strong performance by Shay Burnett and Lauren Brown from the free throw line helped the maroon and gold hold on for the victory.
“We knew they would come clawing back after halftime,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “Hofstra did a tremendous job of fighting to get back into this game. We had opportunities where we had numbers and when you have that, you have to attack and execute the offense.”
Elon (17-11, 10-7) finished 23-of-52 from the field to shoot 44 percent on the day and went 7-of-14 from three for a 50 percent mark, while also going 65 percent from the charity stripe (11-of-17). The Phoenix defense tied a season-high 11 blocks and saw a combined 31 points from its bench.
Burnett posted her third double-double of the season by tying her career high with 21 points (6-of-8 FG and 7-of-8 FT) and a new career-high 11 rebounds, while also handing out seven assists. Zora Stephenson scored 16 points for the Phoenix after a 6-of-9 performance, including four threes. Jenifer Rhodes tied her career high of six blocks, which already ranks second on Elon’s single-game records list.
The Pride (18-10, 11-6) was held to a 29 percent clip from the field after going 21-of-72 and only made three baskets from beyond the arc (23 percent). Hofstra finished with the advantage on the glass, 47-40, and had three players in double figures led by 13 points from both Kelly Loftus and Darius Faulk.
Elon jumped out to an early 9-2 lead to start the game, forcing a Pride timeout with 15:38 on the clock after layups by Shannen Cochraham and Brown. The Phoenix held Hofstra scoreless for a five-minute span to move ahead by 14, 16-2, by the 13:04 mark.
Back-to-back offensive turns for threes by Burnett made it a 22-8 advantage by the 11-minute mark. With 2:24 to play in the half, Stephenson hit a basket from long distance followed by a Cochraham layup to give Elon a 26-point lead, 43-17. Another three by Stephenson, her fourth of the game, with 41 seconds left before the break put Elon ahead, 46-22, at the half.
Elon went 18-of-30 in the opening frame to shoot 60 percent from the field, including 7-of-9 from long distance for a blistering 78 percent. The Pride was held to 26 percent off an 8-of-31 performance and only had one basket from three (14 percent).
Both teams struggled at the start of the second half, combining for 6-of-34 from the field for over the first 8:11 of the frame. The maroon and gold maintained a 23-point advantage after a layup by Burnett with a 52-29 lead at the 11:49 mark.
The Pride used a 22-2 run to cut its deficit to just three, 54-51, with 5:45 left in the game. A layup by Burnett on the next offensive possession broke the scoring drought for the Phoenix, 56-51.
During the remainder of the game, Elon was sent to the line 10 times and converted eight attempts, including five by Burnett. The Pride was only able to pull within four, 62-58, with 23 seconds left, allowing Elon to finish out the win.
Elon returns home for its regular-season finale to take on Delaware on Wednesday, March 4. Tip is set for 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym.