ELON, N.C. – Trailing by one with seven seconds remaining, Elon women’s basketball’s Shay Burnett went to the line and converted two clutch free throws to put the Phoenix ahead by one. Hofstra advanced the ball and got a shot off but was not able to score, giving Elon the 61-60 final victory tonight, Jan. 8, in Alumni Gym.
“It was not pretty but I always tell my team we’ll take an ugly win over a pretty loss,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “I’m glad we got another CAA win under our belts. Now we’ll regroup and recharge to get ready for our next game. We know every night that a CAA game is going to be competitive. You have to come prepared and ready to battle.”
The Phoenix (9-4, 2-0 CAA) finished 23-of-62 from the field to shoot 37 percent on the night, including 26 points in the paint, but was held to 2-of-13 from beyond the arc, while shooting 72 percent from the line (13-of-18).
Burnett led the maroon and gold with 18 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double to go along with three assists. Jenifer Rhodes tallied 13 points after a 6-of-12 performance from the field. Malaya Johnson finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three blocks for a strong overall performance, while Lauren Brown also finished in double figures with 11 points after hitting both of Elon’s threes.
The Pride (10-3, 1-1 CAA) claimed a 38 percent mark from the field after going 24-of-63, including 8-of-20 from three to shoot 40 percent. Hofstra was sent to the line only seven times, converting four attempts (57 percent), and won the advantage on the boards, 41-39. Krystal Luciano led the Pride with 17 points, while Ashunae Durant claimed a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards.
Elon started the game off strong with a 5-0 lead after two baskets by Rhodes, holding the Pride scoreless for the first 5:15. Hofstra responded with an 11-1 run to take an 11-6 advantage with 2:21 remaining. An old-fashioned three-point play by Essence Baucom sparked the Phoenix back into action with a 9-2 run to regain the lead, 15-13, after a layup by Burnett with 24 seconds left. Hofstra hit a basket with seven ticks to go, making it a 15-15 game after the first frame.
The maroon and gold found itself down by as much eight, 27-19, in the second period with 1:42 to play. A pair of jumpers by Johnson and a three from Brown helped the Phoenix close out the half with a 7-3 advantage to trail by only three at the break, 29-26.
The Pride managed to return to its eight-point lead, 38-30, before Burnett hit a mid-range jumper as the shot clock expired at the 6:49 mark. Hofstra led by as much as nine, 41-32, before Brown completed a four-point play after a bucket from long distance and a foul tp pull the maroon and gold within three, 46-43, with 1:34 to play. A layup by Rhodes followed by a Brown jumper helped Elon close out the final 1:19 of the period on an 8-0 run for a 47-46 lead.
After a Rhodes layup moved the Phoenix ahead by three, 49-46, the Pride answered with a 10-1 run for a seven-point lead, 56-49, with 5:23 to play. With under two minutes to play, a Johnson layup cut the deficit to two, 58-56, before Burnett was fouled on a made basket with 52 seconds remaining. She converted the and-one opportunity to put Elon back in front, 59-58.
Hofstra’s Durant hit a jumper with 18 seconds on the clock to regain the lead, 60-59, and was fouled but missed the free throw setting Elon up to advance the ball with a chance to win.
Burnett’s double-double marked the fourth of the season for the sophomore…The win keeps Elon’s perfect home record intact this season moving the team to a 5-0 record…The game marked the ninth time this three or more Phoenix players have finished in double figures.
The Phoenix remains home in Alumni Gym to host reigning CAA champion and preseason favorite James Madison in its next game on Sunday, Jan. 10. Tip is set for 2 p.m.