ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team (16-10, 9-6 CAA) closes out the home portion of its 2016 season on Friday, Feb. 26, when the Phoenix hosts Delaware (14-12, 9-6 CAA) for Senior Night. Tip is set for 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym. Tickets can be purchased through the Elon Ticket Office. Admission is $15 for courtside seats, $8 for reserved seats and $5 for youth (12 and under).
Last Time Out
Despite holding a 12-point advantage at the break of its last game on Sunday, the Elon was not able to overcome a 23-2 deficit in the third period, falling to Drexel, 54-47, in Alumni Gym. The Phoenix 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.
Scouting the Blue Hens
Delaware has won three of its last four games after its loss to Elon on Feb. 7, including a 54-47 win over Hofstra on Sunday. The Blue Hens are 14-12 overall with a 9-6 mark in conference play. The team leads the CAA in three-point field goal percentage with a 35.1 percent mark and ranks second in the league in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to a 36 percent mark. Courtni Green and Erika Brown lead UD in scoring with 12.6 points and 11.8 points per game, respectively, and both rank in the top 15 in the CAA. Green is third in the conference in three-point field goal percentage (39.8 percent) and second in three-point field goals made (2.3/game). Nicole Enabosi is the team’s leading rebounder with 6.8 boards/game
Elon holds a 3-0 advantage in the all-time series that began last year. After the Phoenix claimed a 60-50 win in Newark, Del., on Jan. 4, 2015, the last two meetings have gone into overtime. The maroon and gold took a one-point win, 77-76, in overtime to close out last year’s regular season in Alumni Gym on March 4, 2015. More recently, the two teams played a double overtime thriller that ended in favor of the Phoenix, 66-64, after Shay Burnett bounced an inbounds pass off a UD defender to grab the ball and make a layup as time expired. The basket gave Elon the victory and kept the game from a third overtime.
Elon celebrates its 2015-16 senior class on Friday as they play their final game in Alumni Gym. The five seniors – Autumn Carter, Jessica Farmer, Lauren Hudson, Josepha Mbouma and Nicole Razor – have compiled a 69-53 record over the past four seasons and a 44-27 mark in conference play. This class has been a part of two post-season teams, including Elon’s first appearance in the WNIT last season.
If the Season Ended Today…
If the regular season ended today, the Phoenix would be the fourth seed in the upcoming 2016 CAA Women’s Basketball Championship. Elon would play fifth-seeded Delaware in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 10, at 2:30 p.m. This year’s tournament returns to the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md.
From the Line
Shay Burnett owns an 80.1 percent mark from the charity stripe this season, which ranks third in the league. The sophomore ranks 64th nationally and first in the CAA in free throw attempts (141) and 44th overall and first in the CAA in free throws made (113). As a team, Elon leads the league in both free throw attempts (517) and free throws made (3452), which ranks 66th and 88th 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 4.5 blocks per game as a team, which ranks 63rd nationally and fifth in the league.
On the Boards
Elon currently ranks second in the conference and 26th nationally in rebounds per game (42.54/game). The Phoenix holds a positive 3.5 rebounding margin, which is third in the CAA, is second in offensive rebounds (15.7/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, 538-391, and averaging 20.6 points per game.
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.
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 85-67 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 52-18 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.
After Elon’s home finale against Delaware, the Phoenix closes out the regular season with two road games, beginning with a tilt at league-leader James Madison on Sunday, Feb. 28. Tip is set for 2 p.m. in Harrisonburg, Va.