ELON, N.C. – Off a season-high 48 percent shooting performance from the field, the Elon women’s basketball team claimed a 73-51 win over visiting William & Mary tonight, Feb. 5, in Alumni Gym.
“We shot the ball well tonight, we won and I’m glad everyone got to play,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We talked about defense and rebounding. I’m very pleased with what we did on the boards. I challenged everybody before the game and at halftime in terms of rebounding and they responded. The more you can have the ball in your control, the more opportunities you have to score. I’m really proud of the team to pull out the win and excited that the shots fell tonight.”
The Phoenix (13-8, 6-4 CAA) finished 26-of-54 from the field for that 48 percent mark, including six buckets from long distance for 38 percent, and tallied 32 points in the paint. Elon claimed 16 points off Tribe turnovers, 19 second-chance points off 17 offensive rebounds and saw 26 points from its bench. The maroon and gold won the battle on the boards, 46-25, which marked a season low for an opponent this year. All 12 Phoenix available to play saw action in the game.
After a 6-of-9 performance from the field, Malaya Johnson finished with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for a double-double along with three assists, two blocks and two steals. Lauren Brown led all players with 16 points, while Jenifer Rhodes posted 12 points and eight boards.
The Tribe (13-8, 4-6 CAA) shot 36 percent after going 19-of-53 and was held to a 25 percent mark from beyond the arc after hitting 3-of-12 attempts. W&M went 10-of-15 from the line for 67 percent. Marlena Tremba led the team with 15 points followed by 13 points from Bianca Boggs, while Alexandra Masaquel brought down a team-high nine rebounds.
With the score tied at five-all in the first period, a layup by Johnson and a Essence Baucom jumper put the Phoenix up 9-5 at the 7:22 mark. A three by Brown helped keep Elon ahead by four, 12-8, before the Tribe grabbed an 18-17 edge at the end of the frame.
In the second period, a jumper by Rhodes with 3:51 on the clock gave the maroon and gold a 26-24 lead and sparked a 12-2 run to close out the half. The Phoenix scored eight straight in the final 1:34 of the period as Lenaira Ruffin sank a three with two seconds remaining for a 10-point advantage, 36-26, at the break.
The Tribe trimmed its deficit to seven, 36-29, to start the second half before a Rhodes jumper capped an 8-2 run to move Elon up by 13, 44-31, at the 5:54 mark. With 3:37 remaining, Brown sank her second three of the game followed by another Elon three by Maddie McCallie just over a minute later to make it a 16-point game, 52-36. A layup by Johnson made it as much as an 18-point lead, 54-36, before a Tribe basket from long distance made it 54-39 going into the final period.
A McCallie layup put the maroon and gold up by 17, 56-39, to start the fourth frame before W&M closed the gap to 13, 58-45, with 5:09 remaining. The Phoenix closed out the final five minutes of the game with a 15-6 run, which was capped by an Emily Sasser jumper with 14 seconds left, to take the final 22-point advantage.
Elon now leads the all-time series against the Tribe, 4-3, and has won four straight meetings…The double-double by Johnson was her second straight and third of the season…The Phoenix is 9-4 this year when three or more players score in double figures.
The Phoenix goes back on the road to play at Delaware on Sunday, Feb. 7, in a 2 p.m. tip in the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del.