ELON, N.C. – Elon University women’s basketball had its Division I program record winning streak snapped at nine in a row Friday night in a 76-70 loss to James Madison in front 1,412 fans inside Alumni Gym, a new facility record for a women’s basketball game.
All five Elon starters scored in double figures with Shay Burnett leading the way with 20 points and 12 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season. The 20-point game is the sixth 20-plus point game for the Phoenix this season. Malaya Johnson scored 14 points with 12 of them coming in the second half. Both Lauren Brown and Essence Baucom notched 11 points and Jenifer Rhodes rounded it out with 10 points.
Precious Hall scored more than half of JMU’s points with 41 on the night. She amassed her total on 13-of-28 shooting, including 6-of-11 from long range. Of her 41 points, 28 came in the second half. Amber Porter was the only other Duke in double figures with 13 points to go with nine rebounds before fouling out.
Elon led nearly all of the first half and took a 32-29 lead into the locker room after Burnett knocked down a three-pointer as the shot clock expired late in the half. Leading by five after a Rhodes layup to open the third, JMU clawed back and took a lead midway through the third, but the Phoenix went on 6-0 run to erase a four-point deficit and went back up by two with 4:07 to go in the quarter. After two Hall free throws, she knocked down a three with 2:29 to go to put JMU up for good at 46-43.
Down the stretch, Elon trailed by as many as nine early in the fourth quarter, but each time the Phoenix fought back and cut the lead to as few as three at 63-60 after a Rhodes layup with 4:07 to play. Hall answered Elon’s run, though, with a free throws and a three-pointer to go back up by seven with 2:51 to go. Though Elon tried again to claw back, the Dukes kept the Phoenix at arm’s length and never let Elon get closer than five in the final three minutes.
Elon did open the game on a 4-0 run and led by as many as six midway through the first quarter. The Phoenix started the game 0-for-10 from three-point range, though, and finished the contest 3-of-28 from behind the arc. In comparison, JMU hit 9-of-16 three-pointers and shot 45.1 percent to Elon’s 33.3 percent from the floor.
– Prior to the game, athletic director Dave Blank honored head coach Charlotte Smith with a commemorative ball to celebrate her 100th-career win last Sunday against Drexel.
– Elon’s previous record for the most fans at a home game was 1,123 on March 2, 2013, when the Phoenix topped Davidson 72-56. Each of the last two crowds in Alumni Gym have ranked in the top five in program history after 1,054 fans were in attendance to see the Phoenix top Drexel last Sunday, Jan. 15.
– Lauren Brown scored 11 points in the game. She has now scored 997 points in her career. She is looking to become the 21st player in program history to score 1,000-career points.
– JMU is now 6-0 against Elon, but each of the last four meetings have been decided by six points or less after Elon suffered a 63-60 loss in 2015, an 81-76 loss in overtime and a 73-72 defeat in 2016 and Friday’s six-point loss.
– The loss is the first home defeat since falling 78-68 to Wake Forest on Nov. 26. Elon is now 6-2 in Alumni Gym this season.
-Friday marked the final home game of January for the Phoenix. Next time Elon is home will be Feb. 3 against Towson.
Elon will open a three-game road swing, the longest of CAA play for the Phoenix, next time out on Sunday afternoon against William & Mary. Opening tip inside Kaplan Arena is set for 2 p.m. Entering the weekend, William & Mary was third in the CAA behind Elon and James Madison. Both the Phoenix and Tribe fell on Friday night. Towson got the best of William & Mary in Maryland, 64-60.