Elon WBB Takes on Pride Sunday in New York

ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team (12-7, 5-3) looks to extend its current winning streak to four games when it closes out a road trip to the northeast at Hofstra (15-4, 6-2) on Sunday, Jan. 31, in Hempstead, N.Y. Tip is set for 2 p.m. in the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Center.

Last Time Out
With three seconds on the clock, Shay Burnett found an open Nikki McDonald under the basket for a layup that put the Elon women’s basketball team over Northeastern, 56-54. Northeastern missed its final attempt to win the game as the clock expired, giving the Phoenix the final two-point win on Friday in the Cabot Center. The maroon and gold finished 20-of-56 from the field to shoot 36 percent on the day and went 15-of-19 from the line for 79 percent. Elon only hit one basket from long distance on the day, going 1-of-18, but scored 30 total points in the paint. Burnett posted a team-high 17 points and a career-high 15 boards for her fifth double-double of the season, while also tallying five assists. The sophomore shot 5-of-12 from the field and hit 7-of-8 attempts from the line. McDonald followed with nine points in the game after a 4-of-7 performance from the field.

Scouting the Pride
Hofstra was handed only its second-conference loss of the season in the form of a 67-64 defeat at Drexel on Jan. 29. The Pride’s only other CAA loss this season came at Elon on Jan. 8, 61-60. The team is 15-4 overall (6-2 CAA) on the season and leads the league in scoring defense (allowing 56.4 points per game), field goal percentage (40.0 percent) and rebounding defense (35.7/game). Junior Kelly Loftus leads the team and ranks sixth in the conference in scoring with 13.9 points per game, while sophomore Ashunae Durant is second in the CAA in rebounding with 9.4 boards per game and is seventh nationally in offensive rebounds per game (5/game). From beyond the arc, senior Asia Jackson is shooting 49.2 percent and is first in the league.

The Series
Sunday marks the third all-time meeting between Elon and Hofstra. The Phoenix won the previous meeting this season with a 61-60 final after Shay Burnett hit two free throws with seven seconds left to lift the maroon and gold past the Pride. Prior to this year, each team had claimed a victory on the opponent’s home court. The Pride took a 55-53 win in Alumni Gym on Feb. 15, 2015, before Elon returned the favor with a road win, 64-58, in Hempstead, N.Y., on March 1, 2015.

From the Line
Shay Burnett owns an 81.0 percent mark from the charity stripe this season, which ranks third in the league. The sophomore ranks 25th nationally and first in the CAA in free throw attempts (126) and 14th overall and first in the CAA in free throws made (102).

Block Party
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 4.5 blocks per game as a team, which ranks 75th nationally and fifth in the league.

On the Boards
Elon currently ranks second in the conference in rebounds per game (41.11 /game). The Phoenix holds a positive 1.8 rebounding margin, which is third in the CAA, is second in offensive rebounds (14.4/game) and is third in the league in defensive rebounds (26.7/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, 379-287, and averaging 19.9 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 an 81-64 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.

Home-Court Advantage
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.

Next Up
Elon welcomes William & Mary to Alumni Gym for its first meeting with the Tribe this season on Friday, Feb. 5, for a 7 p.m. tip.