WILMINGTON, N.C. – Junior guard Shay Burnett(Southern Alamance High School) became the 22nd player in Elon University women’s basketball history to reach the 1,000-career point mark with a three-pointer in the third quarter of a 66-56 road victory over UNCW inside Trask Coliseum on Sunday, Feb. 5.
“Shay is our Swiss Army knife,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “She does a whole lot of things for us. She can score, she makes everybody around her better because she passes the ball really well and she rebounds. We had a lot of lapses on the defensive end and there were times we could’ve put it away but we didn’t have the energy. But we find different ways to put the nails in the coffin, even if we don’t have the home crowd with us.”
Burnett finished the day with a season-high 23 points, falling five shy of her career-high 28 set in 2015. She polished off her stellar day with 12 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season and fell two assists short of recording the program’s first triple-double. Jenifer Rhodes also added 13 points with seven rebounds and Lauren Brown scored 10 points to pace the Phoenix. Malaya Johnson had six first-quarter points and while she was shutout for the rest of the day, she did have a big impact on the boards with 10 rebounds.
UNCW had four players in double figures, led by Jasmine Steele’s 14 points and nine assists with zero turnovers. Jenny DeGraaf and Madison Raque added 12 points apiece and Timber Tate notched 11 points on the afternoon.
With seven games left in the regular season, Elon is now 18-5 overall and 10-1 in CAA action. Under Smith, Elon has twice won 19 games, but has not hit the 20-win mark since the 2010-11 season. That campaign stands as Elon’s lone 20-win season as a Division I program. In conference play, Elon won 11 games in each of its first two seasons as a member of the CAA. The Phoenix has now also won at least 10 conference games in seven consecutive seasons dating back to 2010-11.
Elon could not put together consecutive field goals through the first quarter in shooting 7-for-19 from the floor, but UNCW didn’t find its touch until late in the first quarter with five buckets in the final 3:17 of the frame. Johnson’s six points led the Phoenix and she knocked down a jumper with four seconds left to give Elon a 16-15 lead after one.
The Phoenix opened what turned out to be a decisive second quarter on a 9-3 run and outscored the Seahawks 19-12 in the frame to take a 35-27 lead into the break. After struggling from the floor in the first half of the quarter by hitting 1-of-7 shots, Elon caught fire and knocked down 6-of-9 thanks to four consecutive buckets midway through the quarter.
Leading by eight after 20 minutes, Elon tried to put the game out of reach with a 10-0 run early in the third quarter to take a six-point lead at 35-29 to a 16-point lead at 45-29. UNCW outscored the Phoenix 13-7 in the final 3:25 of the quarter, though, to pull within nine and the Seahawks cut the deficit to nine again early in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as UNCW would get with Elon answering both times to go back up by 16 midway through the final frame on the way to the win.
– Burnett is the fifth player to hit the mark in her third season with the program. The other four were Lou Williamson (1977-81), Donna Trollinger (1981-85), Holly Andrews (2000-04) and Lakia Hayes (1995-98).
– Burnett joins Lauren Brown as the second Elon player to accomplish the feat this season. It marks the third time in program history two players have surpassed 1,000 career points in the same season, joining Venessa Corbett and Lou Williamson in 1979-80 and Elizabeth Ward and Laura Case in 1992-93.
– The win is Elon’s ninth-straight victory away from Alumni Gym, which extends the program’s Division I record.
– Elon’s play in the paint was spectacular all day, scoring 22 points and only allowing UNCW to notch two points down low in the opening 20 minutes. In the end, the Phoenix scored 34 points in the paint to UNCW’s 12.
– The Phoenix significantly outrebounded UNCW, 45-30. It’s the eighth time in nine games Elon has grabbed at least 40 rebounds in a contest.
– Rhodes has now scored 986 points in her Elon career. Elon has never had three players surpass 1,000 points in a season in program history.
On Friday night, Feb. 10, Elon will start a stretch with three of its next four games being played inside Alumni Gym. The run starts with a 7 p.m. matchup against Northeastern. Elon defeated the Huskies 76-65 on Jan. 27 in Boston in the first meeting between the two programs this season.