ELON, N.C. – Elon University women’s basketball started the 2017-18 season Friday night, Nov. 10, with the largest win of the Charlotte Smith era, defeating Winthrop 98-37 in Alumni Gym.
“We set some defensive goals, especially in the second half, of locking in and seeing how many stop-score-stops we could string together,” Smith said. “We got at least 12 in the second half so that was a great accomplishment. I’m very proud of them for that. I would like for us to take care of the ball a little better, but overall just really pleased with the performance.”
Elon (1-0) opened the night scoring the first seven points with Shay Burnett’s pair of free throws and a layup, a Malaya Johnson layup and a Lexi Mercer free throw before Winthrop (0-1) could get on the board with an Emily Kelley three-pointer. From there, the Phoenix methodically pushed its lead to as many as 19 after a pair of Ra’Shika White free throws with 40 seconds left. White was held scoreless in the opening six minutes before scoring 10 of Elon’s 12 points in a nearly three-minute stretch to close the first quarter.
To open the second, the sophomore from Charlotte, N.C., scored Elon’s first four points on back-to-back layups to start the quarter. The Phoenix continued to push its lead to as many as 30 at 43-13 after a layup from Ariana Nance. At the break, Elon led 45-16 with White scoring a game-high 20 points in the opening 20 minutes.
The Phoenix kept its foot on the gas pedal out of the break with Mercer notching nine points in four minutes to push Elon’s lead to 42 at 63-21. Ultimately, Elon led by as many as 49 in the third quarter at 75-26 after a Burnett layup with 1:23 left.
Late in the fourth quarter after continuing to push the lead higher, the Phoenix closed the game on a 5-0 run to finish with 98 points thanks to a White layup and free throw and a Burnett layup. Meme Garner led the Phoenix in the fourth with six points, knocking down three shots from the floor.
White set a new career high with 29 points on 12-of-17 from the floor. The sophomore also had eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Burnett added 17 points in the win, barely missing a double-double with nine rebounds and nine assists. Malaya Johnson finished with a double-double, tallying 14 points and 14 rebounds. Mercer also finished with 10 points, four rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
Anika Riley paced Winthrop with 11 points in 27 minutes. Ronata Rogers led the team with four rebounds and Kelley had a team-best two assists.
-All 11 players to see the floor scored for the Phoenix.
-The 61-point victory is the largest of the Smith era by nine points. In her second game as head coach on Nov. 18, 2011, the Phoenix beat Virginia Intermont by 52 (105-53). The 105 points scored that day is the most of Smith’s tenure.
-Elon’s 98 points marks the most in a game since Feb. 7, 2004, when Elon defeated College of Charleston. The total stands as the sixth-most points in a game in Elon’s Division I history.
-The Phoenix shot 54.1 percent, knocking down 40 of its 74 attempted shots.
-Elon also had 62 rebounds, which is tied for the fourth-most in Elon’s Division I history. It finished with 62 rebounds last year on Jan. 8, 2017, against Delaware and on Feb. 24, 2001, against High Point.
-The 24 assists tie for the seventh-most in a game in Elon’s D-I history. It matches the 24 against Montreat on Nov. 19, 2006.
-Elon has now won its home-opener 10 years in a row dating back to the opener to start the 2008-09 season.
-Before the game, Elon honored the 2016-17 CAA championship team and recognized the commemorative banners hanging in the rafters.
The Phoenix will travel 25 minutes west to Greensboro, N.C., to take on North Carolina A&T. Tip is set for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 13, at the Corbett Center.