RALEIGH, N.C. – After a big second quarter for NC State, Elon University women’s basketball mounted a second-half comeback but the attempt fell short in a 70-57 loss to the Wolfpack Saturday night, Dec. 16, in Reynolds Coliseum.
With the loss, Elon now stands at 7-3 heading into its non-conference finale on Tuesday, Dec. 19, against NC Central. NC State has now won four in a row and stands at 10-2 on the season.
Trailing by 13 heading to the fourth quarter, NC State pushed its lead to 14 with 4:55 to play. But after it became 60-46, the Phoenix went on a 7-0 run to come within seven at 60-53 with 3:45 to go. The two teams traded free throws in the ensuing two minutes until a three-point play by Shay Burnettpulled Elon within five at 62-57 with 1:27 to play. But in the closing 70 seconds, Kaila Ealey hit eight free throw to push NC State’s lead back to the final margin of 13 at 70-57.
Malaya Johnson got Elon on the board just 17 seconds into the game with a short jumper, but the Wolfpack (10-2) answered with a 7-0 run before Meme Garner could end the stretch with a bucket of her own. Saadia Munford followed with a jumper with four minutes to go in the quarter to cut the NC State lead to one at 7-6, but the Wolfpack went on a quick 4-0 run to push its lead back to five. In the final two minutes, Ra’Shika Whiteand Ariel Colon each hit layups on the left side of the lane to bring the Phoenix back within one at 11-10 after one quarter.
In the second, NC State got hot from long range in knocking down 4-of-7 three-pointers to take a 14-point lead to halftime at 36-22. In all, it outscored Elon 25-12 in the quarter behind 11 points from Chelsea Nelson. Elon’s final two buckets of the half were three-pointers by Lexi Mercer and Jada Graves, but the Wolfpack ended the half on a 16-6 run in the final 6:53 of the second quarter.
Throughout the third quarter, Elon outscored NC State 16-15. The Phoenix went to work down low with 12 points in the paint after only scoring 10 across the first two quarters. White scored eight of her 20 points on the night in the third quarter alone.
Overall, White’s 20 points finished as a game high. She also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds to go with two blocks. Burnett was the only other Phoenix to finish in double figures, totaling 14 points on 6-of-10 from the floor to go with four rebounds and three assists. No other player scored more than five points with Mercer and Garner scoring five and Munford and Johnson tallying four.
Nelson led NC State with 15 points to go with 11 rebounds in 31 minutes. Akela Maize added 14 points with seven rebounds and three blocks while Ealey had 11 points on 9-of-10 from the free throw line to go with a team-high four assists.
-Now with 919 points in her career, Johnson is 81 points away from becoming the 24th player to reach 1,000 in an Elon jersey.
-In being outrebounded 40-33, Saturday night’s game marks the first time this season Elon has been outrebounded by its opponent in 10 games this year.
-With two blocks on the night, Johnson recorded her second multi-block game of the season. She had 34 such games entering the season in 97 games.
-In trailing by 17 on three occasions, the margin represents the largest deficit in a game Elon has faced this season.
Elon will close out non-conference play on Tuesday night, Dec. 19, when it returns home for the first time in December to battle NC Central. Tipoff in Alumni Gym is set for 7 p.m.