ELON, N.C. – After a program-first win at NC State last week, the Elon women’s basketball team looks to continue its three-game winning streak as the Phoenix returns home to Alumni Gym for the first time in three weeks to host High Point on Saturday, Dec. 19. Tip is set for 3:30 p.m. as part of an Elon basketball doubleheader. Tickets can be purchased through the Elon Ticket Office. Admission for the women’s game is $8 for reserved seats and $5 for youth (12 and under). Fans who purchase a ticket to the first part of the doubleheader as the Elon men’s basketball team takes on UNCG at 1 p.m. are invited to stay as the Phoenix takes on the Panthers.
Last Time Out
With eight seconds remaining in the team’s last game at NC State on Sunday, Maddie McCallie was sent to the line to shoot two, knocking down both to put Elon ahead by four, 68-64. NCSU hit a layup with four ticks left to make it a two-point game but was forced to foul again and sent Lauren Brown back to the stripe for two more shots. She hit the first and missed the second making it a one-possession game. The Wolfpack got the ball down the court but missed the game-tying basket, giving Elon its first program win in nine games against NCSU and it’s first over an ACC team since 1980. The Phoenix saw a game-high 18 points from Brown, which tied a career high, and finished 5-of-6 from the field (4-of-5 from three) and 4-of-6 from the charity stripe. McCallie tallied a career-high 16 points with the help of four threes and hauled down a career-high eight rebounds. Shay Burnett and Malaya Johnson also finished in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively
Scouting the Panthers
High Point is coming off a 69-39 loss to VCU on Wednesday after winning two straight over Longwood and Radford. The Panthers are 3-7 on the season with the game against the Phoenix marking its last non-conference contest of the season. The team is led by Kaylah Keys who is averaging 16.7 points per game. Haleigh Hartfield is the top player on the boards with 4.5 rebounds per game, while Lindsey Edwards is shooting 46 percent from the field with her 8.9 ppg.
Elon has played High Point more than any other school in program history. Saturday’s game marks the 76th all-time meeting of the two programs since 1972. The Panthers overcame a six-point deficit at the half last year to take an 87-71 win over the Phoenix in High Point, N.C., and move to a 39-36 advantage in the series. Elon has not claimed a win since 2003 with HPU taking six straight since then.
The Panthers and Phoenix have one previous opponent in common this season. Both teams have played at NC State in Raleigh, N.C. High Point fell to the Wolfpack by 41 points, 89-48, on Nov. 15, while Elon claimed a 69-66 victory on Dec. 13.
The Phoenix victory at NC State on Dec. 13 marked a historic win for the Elon women’s basketball program for several reasons. The 69-66 upset marked the first time in the nine games that Elon and NCSU have played since 1972 that the maroon and gold claimed a win. The game also marked the first victory for the Phoenix over an Atlantic Coast Conference team since 1980, which is also Elon’s first win over an ACC team in the school’s Division I era.
CAA Player of the Week
On Dec. 15, Lauren Brown was the second Elon player this season to be named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week. Brown came off the bench to lead the Phoenix to its historic 69-66 win at NC State on Dec. 13, scoring a game-high 18 points in 22 minutes. The junior tied her career-high scoring mark after going 5-of-6 from the field to shoot 83 percent, including a 4-of-5 mark from beyond the arc. She also finished 4-of-6 from the line, hitting a crucial free throw with four seconds left. The Alpharetta, Ga., native was also solid on defense, grabbing two defensive boards and coming away with a steal.
At 6-2 after eight games into the season, Elon is off to its best start since the 1997-98 season and its best in the Division I era.
Only a Dozen
A total of 12 points is all the separates Elon from a perfect record this season. The Phoenix fell at Liberty by nine, 72-63, on Nov. 14 and dropped its only other loss of the season in a 73-70 double overtime final at Navy on Nov. 24.
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 5.8 blocks per game as a team, which ranks 22nd nationally and first in the league.
On the Boards
Elon currently ranks 43rd in the nation and second in the conference in rebounds per game (43.75/game). The Phoenix holds a positive 4.8 advantage in the rebounding margin, which is third in the CAA, and leads the league in defensive rebounds (29.4/game) and is third in offensive rebounds (14.4/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 the opponents, 166-116, and averaging 20.8 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 8.5 steals per game, while opponents are managing 7.9.
Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her fifth season with the Phoenix and owns a 75-59 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.
The Phoenix plays its last game before the holiday break on Tuesday, Dec. 22, when the team travels to Columbia, S.C., to take on No. 2 South Carolina. Tip is set for 7 p.m. in Colonial Life Arena. The game will also air on SEC Network+.