ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team (15-9, 8-5 CAA) makes one of its few trips south this season to Charleston, S.C., to take on College of Charleston (9-14, 4-8 CAA) in an Education Day game on Friday, Feb. 19. Tip is set for 11:30 a.m. in TD Arena.
Last Time Out
A single-digit margin provided the final in what has become the norm for women’s basketball bouts between Elon and Northeastern as the Huskies escaped the Phoenix by a 67-61 score in the team’s last game on Feb. 14. It marked Northeastern’s first victory over Elon in the short four-game history of the CAA series, while the previous three contests had been decided by six total points. Elon shot just 37.5 percent over the final 10 minutes, allowing Northeastern to build on its slim 49-46 advantage following the third period. Overall, the Phoenix connected on 40.3 percent (25-of-62) of its attempts from the field and was good on 46.2 percent (6-of-13) of its three-point attempts. Jenifer Rhodes led Elon with 14 points and seven rebounds. She also swatted three shots. Essence Baucom added 12 points, six boards and a team-high six assists.
Scouting the Cougars
CofC has dropped its last two games after a 49-46 win over Drexel on Feb. 7. The Cougars return home for the first time since that last win to host the Phoenix. CofC goes into this weekend with a 9-14 overall record and a 4-8 mark in conference play, sitting currently in seventh in the league standings. Breanna Bolden is the Cougars’ leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 14.0 points and 7.1 boards per game. Bolden ranks fifth in the league in scoring, 10th in rebounding and first in steals (63) and steals per game (2.7). Jackie Luna-Castro also averages in double figures with 10.5 points per game and is currently shooting 48.3 percent from the field, which is the fourth best mark in the conference.
CofC owns the advantage in the all-time series, 14-12, which dates back to 1981. All but two of the 26 total meetings have taken place in the last 12 years. Despite trailing the Cougars by two games, the Phoenix has won eight of the last nine matchups, including a 52-41 win in Alumni Gym on Jan. 22 and both conference games last season. The teams last played in Charleston on Feb. 8., 2015, with Elon claiming a 75-71 win with the help of 21 points from hometown girl Jenifer Rhodes.
Jenifer Rhodes grew up less the 10 miles up the road from TD Arena in nearby North Charleston, S.C., and attended Pinewood Prep. The junior played outstanding in the first and only game so far in front of her hometown crowd last year when the team visited College of Charleston during the 2014-15 season. Rhodes went 8-of-16 from the field to score a career-high 21 points, hauled down eight rebounds, grabbed four steals and handed out one assist.
The Century Mark
Autumn Carter played in her 100th game in the maroon and gold against Northeastern on Feb. 14. The senior has started nine games in her career and has played in 13 more games for the Phoenix than anyone else currently on the roster.
The Phoenix shot a season high 49.2 percent against Towson on Feb. 12. Elon finished 30-of-61 from the field for the mark and tallied 42 points in the paint in its 80-58 victory. Prior to that the maroon and gold shot 48 percent in its Feb. 5 game against William & Mary. Elon went 26-of-54 from the field against the Tribe, including six buckets from long distance for 38 percent, and tallied 32 points in the paint.
Did you know that Shay Burnett’s game winner at Delaware on Feb. 7 was feature on ESPN’s SportsCenter as one of the top plays? Watch the highlight here.
Elon in Overtime
After its overtime game at Delaware on Feb. 7, Elon is now 17-11 all-time in overtime games and 1-3 when the overtime goes past one period. The Phoenix has played three overtime games this season, two of which have gone to double overtime. The maroon and gold fell in double overtime at Navy on Nov. 24 and to James Madison in single overtime on Jan. 10 before winning its first OT game of the season against the Blue Hens. The team’s double overtime game at Navy on Nov. 24 marked the first time Elon played more than one overtime period since a four overtime game against Western Carolina in 2008.
From the Line
Shay Burnett owns an 80 percent mark from the charity stripe this season, which ranks third in the league. The sophomore ranks 49th nationally and first in the CAA in free throw attempts (135) and 35th overall and first in the CAA in free throws made (108). As a team, Elon leads the league in both free throw attempts (491) and free throws made (338), which ranks 49th and 61nd in the NCAA, respectively.
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 4.4 blocks per game as a team, which ranks 76th nationally and fifth in the league.
On the Boards
Elon currently ranks second in the conference in rebounds per game (41.83/game). The Phoenix holds a positive 2.4 rebounding margin, which is third in the CAA, is second in offensive rebounds (14.9/game) and is third in the league in defensive rebounds (26.9/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, 496-366, and averaging 20.6 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 84-66 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 52-17 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.
The Phoenix returns home to host the Drexel Dragons on Sunday, Feb. 21, in Alumni Gym. Tip is set for 3 p.m. and the game will air on the American Sports Network.