ELON, N.C. – Despite holding a 12-point advantage at the break, the Elon women’s basketball team was not able to overcome a 23-2 deficit in the third period to fall to Drexel, 54-47, today, Feb. 21, in Alumni Gym.
“I wish we could have duplicated the first half in terms of defensive intensity and focus,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We started out the third period not focused defensively and gave them too much momentum. Once they (Drexel) find confidence and rhythm, they’re a very difficult team to defend.”
The Phoenix (16-10, 9-5 CAA) went 16-of-65 from the field to shoot 25 percent on the day, only hitting three buckets from beyond the arc (23 percent), and finished 12-of-18 from the stripe for a 67 percent mark. Elon claimed the advantage on the boards, 47-35, and in second-chance points, 20-5.
Shay Burnett tallied her seventh double-double of the season after a team-high 15 points and a game-high 13 boards. Burnett also tallied three assists and two steals. Malaya Johnson tallied 14 points, one short of her season high, while both Jenifer Rhodes and Autumn Carter each hauled down eight rebounds.
The Dragons (15-11, 11-4 CAA) shot 60 percent in the second half to finish with a 40 percent mark in the game (20-of-50), including 5-of-19 from long distance (26 percent). Drexel went 9-of-12 from the line for a 75 percent mark. Sarah Curran led all players with 23 points, finishing 9-of-16 from the field and had a team-high eight rebounds. Curran was the only Dragon to finish in double figures.
The Phoenix used the first 7:32 of the first period to jump out to a 10-4 lead, but Drexel closed the stanza with five unanswered points, cutting Elon’s lead to 10-9 at the end of the frame.
Lauren Brown’s three-pointer at the 9:23 mark gave the Phoenix a 13-9 lead, but the Dragons mounted a 4-0 run to tie it up 13-13 after a free throw from Jessica Pellechio with 5:14 remaining in the half. Elon closed out the period with a 12-0 surge to take a 25-13 lead into halftime. Brown’s triple made it a 10-point game with 1:07 to go and Johnson scored off of Essence Baucom’s pass for the final two baskets before halftime.
The game turned in the third period as Drexel went on a 23-0 run to start the second half, holding the Phoenix without a field goal until a Rhodes layup with 60 seconds left and held a 36-27 lead heading into the final period.
With the Dragons leading by seven, 44-37, back-to-back layups by Johnson pulled Elon within three, 44-41, with 3:49 left on the clock. With under a minute to play, an old-fashioned three-point play by Johnson made it a four-point game, 48-44. That was as close as it would get for the maroon and gold as the team was forced to foul and Drexel knocked down all six attempts from the line in the final 31 seconds to secure the win.
Elon plays its final home game of the regular season on Friday, Feb. 26, against Delaware. The game will also mark Senior Night for the program’s five seniors – Autumn Carter, Jessica Farmer, Lauren Hudson, Josepha Mbouma and Nicole Razor. Tip is set for 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym.