ELON, N.C. – Elon University women’s basketball hit 9-of-13 three-pointers in the second half and turned a two-point halftime lead into an 83-55 victory over Towson Friday night, Feb. 3, inside Alumni Gym.
“I’m so excited that we came out focused and ready to handle business,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We talked about it being a team effort in the beginning of the game and having five weapons on the floor at all times trying to give everybody confidence knowing that everybody has the ability to score. I’m really proud of our defensive effort. Our goal is to hold our opponent under 40 percent, and we held them to 32. And we had 50 rebounds. If we can continue to defend and rebound, we give ourselves a chance to be successful.”
Shay Burnett’s 15 points led the Phoenix. She also added eight rebounds and six assists while shooting 5-of-11 from the floor. Jenifer Rhodes recorded a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds while Meme Garner added a career-high 14 points. Malaya Johnson fell one point short of double digits with nine while pulling down seven rebounds and Lauren Brown also added nine points on the night.
Raven Bankston led Towson with 17 points and Raine Bankston notched 12 points. Sianni Martin added 12 points to round out the Tigers’ double-figure scorers.
The 28-point victory matches the program’s largest CAA win to date, tying the 28-point win at College of Charleston on Jan. 13. Going up by 30 at one point Friday, it’s the second-largest lead in a game Elon has had against a conference opponent, falling two points shy of the 32-point lead over Delaware on Jan. 8 in the fourth quarter.
Throughout the first half, Elon and Towson never separated by more than six points either way with two ties and six lead changes in the opening 20 minutes. The Tigers’ biggest lead of the first half came in the opening minutes when they went on a 7-0 run after Johnson opened the game with two free throws. But Elon fought back and the two teams went back and forth over the final seven minutes of the quarter with neither side pulling ahead by more than three.
As the game turned to the second half, though, Elon caught fire in outscoring Towson 25-14 in the third quarter and 27-12 in the fourth quarter. In building the lead during the third quarter, Elon led by as many as 15 at 54-39 after a Garner three-pointer.
Throughout the fourth quarter, Elon led by as many as 30 at 83-53 after a jumper by Ra’Shika White. After shooting 1-for-10 from three-point land in the first half, Elon knocked down 9-of-13 threes in the second 20 minutes and at one point hit 7-of-8 from the 5:38 mark of the third quarter to the 5:14 mark of the fourth.
– With 18 points on the night, Burnett is now eight points away from 1,000 in her career, sitting at 992 points in less than three full seasons.
– The Phoenix shot 55.6 percent in the second half, including 60.0 in the final quarter. It came on the heels of shooting just 34.2 percent in the first half.
– Rhodes, Johnson and Burnett each had eight points apiece at the halfway point Friday. The trio combined to score 24 of Elon’s 31 points in the first half.
– Elon outrebounded Towson 29-15 in the first half and finished with a 50-30 advantage on the glass. The 50-board night is the third time this season in CAA play Elon has had 50 or more rebounds and it’s the seventh time in eight games the Phoenix has pulled down 40 or more.
– Early on, Rhodes paced Elon in scoring eight of the team’s first 12 points of the game. Her double-figure game gives her four in a row and seven in the last eight contests. With the 15 points, Rhodes has scored 973 points in her Elon career.
– Two of Elon’s biggest wins in CAA play have come against Towson. Elon defeated the Tigers by 22 points on Feb. 12, 2016. Entering this season, the 22-point win was the largest win in CAA play before Friday’s 28-point win and the 28- and 27-point wins last month.
Elon will head to UNCW for a 2 p.m. matchup with the Seahawks on Sunday, Feb. 5, in Wilmington, N.C. All-time, Elon is 7-5 against UNCW and 3-2 since the Phoenix joined the CAA. Elon has won each of the last three meetings with the Seahawks.