ELON, N.C. – After a stop at home, the Elon women’s basketball team goes back on the road for two straight games, beginning with a contest at former Southern Conference opponent Furman on Saturday, Dec. 5. Tip is set for 2 p.m. in Timmons Arena in Greenville, S.C.
Last Time Out
Elon set a new Division I single-game team high this season with 17 blocks en route to a 50-38 win over East Tennessee State in its last game on Sunday. The Phoenix outscored the Buccaneers 30-17 in the second half, including an 18-4 advantage in the third period, and held ETSU scoreless for an 11:11 frame that spanned both halves. Jenifer Rhodes led the maroon and gold with a season-high 13 points and had three blocks followed by 12 points from Lauren Brown. Malaya Johnson fell just shy of a double-double with eight points, a career-high 14 rebounds and tied a career high with five blocks. Shay Burnett tallied 10 rebounds, while Autumn Carter set a career high with four blocks.
Scouting the Paladins
Furman is coming off a seven-point win, 69-62, at Richmond on Tuesday to improve to 5-2 on the season. After a season-opening loss against Davidson, the Paladins won four straight, including a 70-49 victory against Clemson on Nov. 21. Furman is led in scoring by Holli Wilkins who averages 13.3 points per game, helping the Paladins to 60 three-pointers this year, which ranks ninth nationally, and owns a 58.8 three-point field goal percentage. Cierra Carter and Whitney Bunn also average in double figures with 11.7 points each. Bunn also ranks 10th in the country in assists per game with 6.9.
Elon leads the all-time series against Furman, 14-11, after claiming an 81-71 win in the meeting in Alumni Gym last year on Dec. 29. Prior to that, the Paladins had won the three previous meetings by a combined nine points. Last year, Shay Burnett and Malaya Johnson look strong against the Paladins as Burnett notched 18 points and Johnson posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards, while Jenifer Rhodes added 15 points as well.
Elon’s 17 total team blocks on Nov. 29 against East Tennessee State marked a new Division I single-game high this season and also set a new CAA single-game record. The Phoenix saw five players set new or match career highs in blocks against the Buccaners in Malaya Johnson (5), Autumn Carter (4), Essence Baucom (2), Lauren Brown (2) and Maddie McCallie (1). Elon is currently averaging 6.5 blocks per game as a team, which ranks 10th nationally and first in the league.
On the Boards
Elon currently ranks 23rd in the nation and second in the conference in rebounds per game (45.67/game). The Phoenix holds a positive 5.8 advantage in the rebounding margin, which is second in the CAA, and leads the league in offensive rebounds (15.8/game) and is second in defensive rebounds (29.9/game).
Off the Bench
The Elon bench has been a contributor to the maroon and gold’s success this season. The Phoenix bench is outscoring its opponent’s, 131-100, and averaging 21.8 points per game.
The Elon defense tallied an impressive 14 steals in its win over Lenoir-Rhyne on Nov. 14 and another 10 at Liberty on Nov. 16. The Phoenix is averaging 9.5 steals per game, while opponents are managing 8.5, and leads the CAA in the same category.
Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her fifth season with the Phoenix and owns a 73-59 career record. Smith has led Elon to three straight conference tournament semifinal appearances, as well as an at-large bid to the 2015 WNIT, the first in program history, after a 19-13 overall record and 11-7 league mark in its first season in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Alumni Gym has proven to be a tough place to play for opponents under head coach Charlotte Smith. The maroon and gold is 46-15 in Alumni Gym in five seasons under Coach Smith. The Phoenix went 10-5 at home during the 2014-15 season after a 10-4 record during the 2013-14 season. The Phoenix has lost no more than five games at home in a season and out scored its opponents 1,001-963 on Robertson Court last year.
Elon travels the short distance across I-40 to face NC State on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in a 2 p.m. tip. The game will be played at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C.