ELON, N.C. – Elon University women’s basketball won its sixth game in a row Friday night, Feb. 10, with a 70-58 victory over Northeastern inside Alumni Gym. The Phoenix has now won 15 of its last 16 games dating back to December.
“I’m pleased that we pulled the game out and got the win tonight,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “I’m really pleased we are able to meet our goals of under 40 percent from the field and 40-plus rebounds. If we continue to do those things, we give ourselves a chance to be successful.”
Malaya Johnson led the Phoenix (19-5, 11-1 CAA) with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. She also had a team-high eight rebounds and four blocks in 28 minutes of action. Johnson led the quad of Elon double-figure scorers with Lauren Brown adding 13 points, Essence Baucom scoring 12 points and Shay Burnett chipping in 10 points with six rebounds and three assists.
Jess Genco led all scorers in the game with 17 points for Northeastern (7-17, 3-9 CAA). Maureen Taggert was the only other Husky in double figures with 12 points. Northeastern used a 7-for-17 night from long distance to stay in the game with Taggert hitting 4-of-5 attempted three-pointers.
Johnson paced Elon in the opening quarter with eight points as the two teams battled back and forth throughout the first quarter with neither side able to pull ahead by more than Elon’s four-point lead at 4-0 to open the game. In all, Elon and Northeastern battled through four lead changes with two ties, but the Phoenix took a 19-18 lead to the second quarter.
Elon opened the second quarter on a 5-0 run to go up six at 24-18, but Northeastern clawed back with three consecutive buckets and took a 25-24 lead with 6:31 left in the opening half. From there, the two teams traded points until Elon went on a 6-0 run in the final 1:44 of the half with field goals from Baucom, Brown and Jenifer Rhodes to lead 40-33 at the break, the largest lead for either side in the first half.
Shooting just 22.7 percent in the third quarter, Elon struggled in hitting 5-of-22 shots and scored 12 points throughout the frame. The Huskies shot 5-of-15 in the quarter and only outscored Elon 13-12, but Madison Wilder gave Elon a big lift at the third quarter buzzer when she hit a three-pointer in front of the Elon bench to give the Phoenix a 52-46 lead.
In the fourth, the Phoenix used the momentum from Wilder’s buzzer-beater to put together a 12-2 run that took Elon’s lead from three to 13 at 61-48 with 6:17 to play after two free throws by Burnett. Though the two teams traded buckets throughout the remainder of the game, the damage had been done early in the fourth when Elon pulled away to ultimately seal the win.
– Elon had seven turnovers in the game. It’s the lowest mark of the Charlotte Smith era and the fewest in a game since Feb. 16, 2009, when Elon committed just five turnovers in a 77-61 loss at Western Carolina.
– In the first half alone, the two teams were tied six times and the lead changed eight times. But Elon led all 20 minutes of the second half with Northeastern coming as close as one point on two occasions in the second half.
– The Phoenix rejected 11 shots on the night. It marks the second time this season Elon has blocked double-figure shots in a game. The Phoenix blocked a season-high 12 shots on Dec. 28 against King.
– Jenifer Rhodes notched six points on Friday to pull her career total to 992. It’s only the second time in the last 10 games she’s not reached double-digit scoring. Rhodes will look to become the third Elon player to reach the 1,000-career point mark this season next time out. Elon has never had three players reach 1,000-career points in the same season.
– Before the game, Elon honored Lauren Brown and her 1,000-point achievement. She passed the 1,000-career point mark on Jan. 22 at William & Mary.
Elon will head out on the road for a rematch with James Madison on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. on American Sports Network. Since Dec. 8, Elon has won 15 of 16 games with the only loss coming Jan. 20, a 76-70 loss in Alumni Gym to the Dukes when Precious Hall scored 41 points to lead JMU.