ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team (11-7, 4-3 CAA) closes out the month of January with a road swing to the northeast, beginning with a game at Northeastern (7-11, 2-5 CAA) on Friday, Jan. 29, in Boston. The game will tip at 2 p.m. in NU’s Cabot Center.
Last Time Out
A strong second half lifted Elon to a 70-53 victory over UNCW on Tuesday night in Alumni Gym. The Phoenix finished with four players in double figures en route to a 36-22 advantage in the second half. The maroon and gold went 24-of-64 from the field to shoot 38 percent, including six threes for a 25 percent mark. The team hit 16-of-19 attempts from the line for 84 percent, marking its second best game from the charity stripe this season. Elon claimed the advantage on the boards, 48-39, and finished with 30 points in the paint. Malaya Johnson hit five field goals and went 5-of-6 from the line for a team-high 15 points, hauled down eight rebounds and tallied one assist, block and steal on the night. Essence Baucom and Nikki McDonald followed with 12 points each, while Shay Burnett finished with 11 points and eight boards.
Scouting the Huskies
Northeastern is currently 7-11 on the season and 2-5 in CAA play, looking to break a three-game losing streak when the team takes on the Phoenix. The Huskies fell by four, 53-49, to Drexel in its last game on Jan. 25. Both of NU’s conference wins have come in overtime with a 73-65 final at Drexel and a 69-68 victory over William & Mary in Boston. Samantha DeFreese leads the team with 12.9 points per game and is second in the CAA with a 51.3 field goal percentage, while also ranking seventh in the conference with 7.8 boards per game. Claudia Ortiz and Jess Genco, who averages the fourth most minutes in the NCAA, follow with 9.0 and 8.9 points per game, respectively.
Elon and Northeastern have only met twice before with both games happening during last year’s regular season. The Phoenix has come out victorious in both outings by a combined four points. The maroon and gold won the first meeting in Alumni Gym on Jan. 25, 2015, in the form of an 80-77 overtime final. A few weeks later on Feb. 19, the Phoenix hit a jumper with two seconds remaining for a 74-73 win in Boston.
From the Line
Shay Burnett owns an 80.5 percent mark from the charity stripe this season, which ranks fourth in the league. The sophomore ranks 28th nationally and first in the CAA in free throw attempts (118) and 17th overall and first in the CAA in free throws made (95).
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 Buccaneers in Malaya Johnson (5), Autumn Carter (4), Essence Baucom (2), Lauren Brown (2) and Maddie McCallie (1). Elon is currently averaging 4.6 blocks per game as a team, which ranks 66th nationally and fourth in the league.
On the Boards
Elon currently ranks second in the conference in rebounds per game (41.44/game). The Phoenix holds a positive 2.1 rebounding margin, which is third in the CAA, is second in offensive rebounds (14.6/game) and is third in the league in defensive rebounds (26.8/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, 365-277, and averaging 20.2 points per game.
Elon is Perfect When…
The Phoenix has a perfect record on the season in games played on Saturday (3-0).
Head Coach Charlotte Smith
Elon head coach Charlotte Smith is in her fifth season with the Phoenix and owns a 80-64 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 50-16 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 under Smith.
Elon remains in the Northeast and closes out its weekend road trip at Hofstra on Sunday, Jan. 31, in Hempstead, N.Y. Tip is set for 2 p.m. in the Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex.