ELON, N.C. – Behind three double-figure scorers and the fourth-most rebounds in a game in school history, Elon University women’s basketball posted its seventh-straight victory with a 69-42 win over Delaware inside Alumni Gym on Sunday, Jan. 8. Now 3-0 for the first time as a member of the CAA, Elon is the lone undefeated team remaining in conference play.
“I’m most pleased with the mental focus we had coming into this game considering our travel issues getting home,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “Just really proud of my team and the mental fortitude our players had in this game. We did an outstanding job on the boards. We talk about defensive rebounding and that was key to the game. Any time you can get a 30-point spread on the boards, you give yourself a chance to be successful.”
Jenifer Rhodes led the Phoenix (11-4, 3-0 CAA) with 17 points on 8-of-12 from the floor. She also pulled down eight rebounds and helped Elon gather 62 boards in the game, which is the second-most in a game under Smith to date and tied Elon’s 62 rebounds in an overtime win at High Point back on Feb. 24, 2001. The Phoenix outrebounded Delaware 62-32, marking the largest margin of the season for Elon and is the largest positive margin under Smith.
Lauren Brown scored 12 points, all of which came in the second half, and Essence Baucom notched a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds with four assists. Shay Burnett chipped in eight points and matched her career-high with 15 rebounds.
Nicole Enabosi led Delaware (7-7, 1-2 CAA) with 10 points and 10 rebounds while Sade Chatman posted eight points and 10 rebounds. Delaware shot 28.1 percent from the floor, which marks the seventh-straight opponent Elon has held below 40 percent shooting and the third foe in the last four games that has shot under 30 percent.
With Elon leading 32-21 at halftime, Delaware opened the third quarter on a 6-0 run in the first 51 seconds to cut the lead to just five at 32-27. But from there, Elon took over with a 20-4 run to end the third quarter and continued to extend the margin throughout the fourth quarter to open up its largest lead of the afternoon at 32 points with 3:29 to play. In building the run, Elon went on a 35-8 run from the 8:46 mark of the third quarter until it had its 32-point lead with 3:29 to play leading 67-35.
The Phoenix set the pace early in the wire-to-wire victory by jumping out to a 10-0 lead before Delaware could get on the board. But Delaware responded to cut the lead to six at 16-10 through the first quarter.
In the first minute of the second quarter, Rhodes hit two layups to put Elon back up by 10 at 20-10, but again Delaware responded by cutting the lead to six at 27-21 after an Enabosi layup with 1:27 to go in the half. A quick five points from Burnett and Rhodes in the final 1:03 of the half, though, helped Elon retain its double-digit lead heading into halftime.
– The 3-0 start to conference play is the best start to a CAA season for Elon to date. The Phoenix won two games to open CAA play a season ago before falling in its third conference outing to James Madison.
– Head coach Charlotte Smith is now two victories away from 100 in her career as a head coach. All 98 career wins have come in five-plus seasons leading the Phoenix.
– Elon is the only CAA team left unbeaten after James Madison fell to Towson 54-51 and Northeastern dropped a 63-33 game to Drexel on Sunday.
– Elon’s best start to conference play as a Division I team came during the 2001-02 season as a member of the Big South when it opened the year 6-0 in Big South action under Brenda Paul.
– In their careers, Burnett has now scored in double figures 51 times while Brown has notched double-digit scoring totals 43 times. Sunday’s 17-point performance was Rhodes’ 40th double-figure outing of her career. Baucom’s 10 points marks the 24th double-figure game of her career and fifth this year.
– Both Burnett and Brown have now scored in double figure a team-high nine times in 15 games on the campaign.
Next weekend, Elon will head out on the road for a 6:30 p.m. contest Friday, Jan. 13, at College of Charleston before returning home for the second matchup of the season against Drexel on Sunday, Jan. 15, inside Alumni Gym. To open conference play, Elon defeated Charleston 70-57 and the Phoenix went on the road to beat Drexel, 48-45, in Philadelphia on Friday, Jan. 8.