PHILADELPHIA – After trailing most of the fourth quarter, Elon University women’s basketball rallied to take down Drexel 48-45 on Friday, Jan. 6, at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. The victory marks the first win over the Dragons in program history after dropping the first four matchups to date.
“We got the monkey off our back,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We knew it was going to be a tough game but we did what we had to do to get the win and I’m excited we were able to get a hard road win over a good Drexel team.”
Lauren Brown led the Phoenix (10-4, 2-0 CAA) with 12 points. She hit 3-of-7 shots from the floor with each of her buckets coming from long range. Shay Burnett notched the fourth double-double of her season with 11 points and 11 rebounds. The junior played a big role in pulling down four rebounds in the fourth quarter to help the Phoenix come from behind.
Drexel (10-3, 1-1 CAA) was led by a game-high 15 points from Sarah Curran. She also had six rebounds for the Dragons. Meghan Creighton and Jessica Pellechio both chipped in eight points with Pellechio also pulling down six rebounds. Drexel outrebounded Elon 39-25 in the contest, which marks the largest margin the Phoenix have been outrebounded by in a game this season. It’s also just the second time in eight games Elon has been outrebounded by its opponent.
With the win, Elon has now won six games in a row for the first time since earning six straight from Jan. 5 to Jan. 20, 2013. The two winning streaks are now tied for the longest of the Smith era. Last time Elon won seven games in a row came during Southern Conference play in 2011 when the Phoenix won seven straight from Jan. 3 to Jan. 22. That season also marks the last time the Phoenix won 20 games in a campaign.
Out of halftime, Elon caught fire in outscoring Drexel 17-10 in the third quarter after scoring just 18 points in the first half. The stretch helped the Phoenix take a 35-31 lead to the fourth quarter. Early in the fourth, though, Drexel went on an 8-0 run to erase the Elon advantage and led 39-35 with seven minutes to play.
After Brown hit two free throws to bring it back to a two-point game, the two teams traded buckets until Drexel was leading 45-43 with 1:22 to play. Looking to take the lead, Brown was fouled taking a three-pointer and she went to the line for three free throws. After missing the first two freebies, she connected on the third shot from the stripe to bring Elon within just one.
On the ensuing Drexel possession, Elon played lockdown defense and forced a Dragon timeout with 10 seconds left on the shot clock and 1:01 to play. Out of the stoppage, the Elon defense forced Curran into traveling to get the ball back with 58 seconds to play.
The Phoenix took the lead for good with 31 seconds to go when Brown’s long jumper fell short, but Burnett was unguarded under the basket and put back the rebound to give the Phoenix a 46-45 lead.
Down the stretch, Elon’s defense again held strong as Drexel was forced into a shot clock violation with 2.6 seconds to play. Out of the turnover, Burnett was fouled and she knocked down two free throws to make it a three-point game. Drexel called a timeout after Burnett’s pair to advance the ball, but its last-second shot fell well short to give Elon the victory.
-Elon opened the game on a 9-2 run before Drexel responded with a 9-1 run of its own to lead 11-10 after the first quarter.
-The Phoenix held Drexel to just 25 percent from the floor in the first half and 29.4 percent in the game. It’s the second time in three games Elon has held its opponent to below 30 percent for the game and the sixth outing in a row Elon has held its opponent under 40 percent from the floor.
– The Phoenix scored 18 points in the first half with 10 in the first quarter and eight in the second. Over the course of the third quarter, Elon nearly matched the total in scoring 17 points in the 10-minute frame.
– The 48 points marks the lowest point total in a game this year for the Phoenix. The previous low was 56 in the season-opener at Green Bay.
– Elon’s 48 points is also the fewest in a win since scoring 44 points in a 44-43 win over Samford on March 2, 2014.
Back inside Alumni Gym, Elon welcomes Delaware for a 2 p.m. game on Sunday, Jan. 8. The meeting marks the sixth between the two programs to date with the Phoenix dominating the series 4-1. Last season, Elon won both regular-season meetings before the Blue Hens topped the Phoenix in the CAA Tournament.