HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Elon University finished off the first half of the CAA women’s basketball season on Sunday, Jan. 29, with a 64-53 win at Hofstra at David S. Mack Sports Complex.
Now 8-1 in conference play and holding strong in first place, Elon’s .889 winning percentage in CAA action is the best mark for the Phoenix in the program’s 18-year run as a Division I member. At 16-5 this season, Elon’s .762 winning percentage is its best through 21 games as a D-I program.
“We had a lot more defensive intensity in the first quarter and it initiated a lot of offensive opportunities for us,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We moved the ball really well and we executed the offensive game plan before we went into a little lull for the rest of the game in terms of ball movement, but we rebounded the ball well and got some second-chance opportunities so we’ll take it.”
Malaya Johnson led the Phoenix with 13 points on 6-of-9 from the floor. Jenifer Rhodes added 11 points on 5-of-9 from the field. Both players pulled down five rebounds. Shay Burnett had nine points and nine rebounds through three quarters, but couldn’t find another point or board in the fourth to finish the game just short of the double-double. Lauren Brown also finished with nine points and Essence Baucom had seven points, six rebounds and a team-high five assists.
Hofstra’s Aleana Leon led the Pride with 19 points. Ashunae Durant eclipsed the 1,000-career point mark during the game, scoring 17 points to go with 11 rebounds. No other Hofstra player scored more than six points in the game. Helping Hofstra on the boards was a game-high 12-rebound performance from Sandra Dongmo.
With the win, Smith is now the third-winningest coach in program history with 103 career wins. She passed Jackie Myers, who led the Phoenix for nine seasons from 1985-94.
Hofstra opened the game with a layup by Durant, but the Pride went ice cold from the floor throughout the remainder of the first quarter and Elon took advantage in going on a 17-0 run to lead 19-3 after the first quarter. Following the opening bucket, Hofstra missed its last 15 shots of the quarter and only broke Elon’s 17-0 run with a free throw that ended a scoreless streak of 8:40 of game action.
The Pride’s cold shooting continued in the second quarter, missing each of its first 11 shots before hitting again from the floor. It broke a run of 16:20 of game action between Hofstra field goals. Though Elon struggled in hitting just four of 13 shots from the floor, the Phoenix still outscored the Pride and took a 29-11 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, the two teams traded points throughout the 10 minutes and Elon took a 47-27 lead to the fourth quarter. Hofstra did chip away at the Elon lead in cutting it down to 15 after a fast-break layup by Leon with 1:08 left in the quarter, but Elon responded with a layup by Meme Garner and three free throws from Burnett after she was fouled shooting a triple in front of the Elon bench.
Early in the fourth, Hofstra opened on a 4-0 run to cut the 20-point lead down to 16, but Elon answered with buckets from Rhodes and Brown to go back up by 20. From there, the two teams traded buckets again until the closing minutes when the Pride pulled within the final margin of 11.
– Elon’s CAA winning percentage of .889 tops the program’s previous best start of .857 (6-1) to start the 14-game Big South slate in 2001-02.
– Through the first quarter, Elon was shooting 56.3 percent on 9-of-16 from the floor. Hofstra was shooting just 6.3 percent on 1-for-16 shooting.
– Leading by 16 after one quarter, the closest Hofstra would come down the stretch was the final margin of 11. Throughout the course of the game, though, the Pride never came closer that 14 points early in the second quarter and late in the fourth before pulling within 11 in the final minute.
– Elon and Hofstra each pulled down 40 rebounds in the game. It marks the first time since Jan. 6 at Drexel that Elon has not outrebounded its opponent.
Elon will stay in the state of North Carolina next weekend when it returns home for a matchup against Towson on Friday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. inside Alumni Gym before headed to UNCW on Sunday, Feb. 5, for a 2 p.m. game with the Seahawks on Super Bowl Sunday.