ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team built a 16-point advantage in the first quarter and soared to an 80-58 CAA victory over the visiting Towson Tigers at Alumni Gym on Friday, Feb. 12.
“I’m really excited about the defensive effort tonight,” said head coach Charlotte Smith. “I felt like our team was really focused in on the defensive assignments, the scouting report, and we had a lot of balance scoring tonight. It’s great to see the shots falling and I felt like that generated a lot of momentum for us defensively.”
The Phoenix (15-8 overall, 8-4 CAA) shot 49.2 percent from the field, sinking 30 of its 61 shots. The maroon and gold netted 42 of its 80 points in the paint. Elon was able to turn 20 Towson turnovers into 31 points and got 30 points off its bench. The Phoenix added 16 points on 25 free throw attempts.
Elon was paced by Shay Burnett who scored 19 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists. Essence Baucom finished with 15 points, two shy of matching her personal best, and four assists. Malaya Johnson also finished in double figures and narrowly missed her fourth double-double of the year as she scored 11 points and pulled down nine boards.
Towson (5-18, 2-10) hit just 37.3 percent of its attempts from the floor and shot just 16.7 percent (3-of-18) from long range. Raven Bankston led the Tigers with 18 points.
After scoring the game’s first four points, Elon saw Towson tie the game at six before closing the half on an 18-2 run over the final 7:07 of the first quarter to build a 24-8 advantage following 10 minutes. The maroon and gold shot 9-of-17 from the floor to get out to the 16-point lead.
The Phoenix extended its lead to 21 with a 35-14 lead with 6:15 remaining in the second quarter after Baucom completed a three-point play. Elon held a 19-point lead at halftime, 45-26, thanks in part to a 50 percent (15-of-30) shooting from the field. Burnett had 12 points at the break and Baucom scored 10 in the first half.
Elon pushed its advantage to 67-38 after the third quarter, grabbing its largest lead of the game, 29 points, at the buzzer of the period when Burnett put in a layup as time expired. The maroon and gold shot 68.6 percent (11-of-16) in the stanza.
In the final 10 minutes, Towson was never able to close the gap to fewer than 21 points after a Bankston layup with 4:36 to play made it a 74-53 contest. During the period, Elon’s Emily Sasser scored four points, a career best.
Elon’s victory was its third straight and is one win shy of matching its longest winning streak of the season… The Phoenix now owns a 3-1 mark all-time against Towson and the two teams spilt their two regular season meetings this year… Elon’s 49.2 field goal percentage was a season high, besting the previous high of 48.1 percent against William & Mary… With the win, Elon improved to 9-1 in Alumni Gym this season.
Elon will remain at home to take on Northeastern in a 2 p.m. game on Sunday, Feb. 14.