HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Elon University women’s basketball led by as many as 21 on Friday night, Feb. 16, at Hofstra and while the Pride tried to finish off a comeback, the Phoenix closed out a 72-65 victory inside Mack Sports Complex to earn its sixth win in a row.
Now at 18-7 overall, Elon is 10-4 in the CAA and has won at least 10 games in conference play each of the last eight seasons going back to 2010-11. Hofstra’s losing streak extended to seven in a row with the defeat and it now stands at 4-10 in conference.
The Phoenix set the tone early with a 10-0 run in the opening five-plus minutes before Hofstra could get on the board nearly a full six minutes into the night. But over the course of the first 10 minutes, Elon outscored Hofstra 23-5 and hit five three-pointers while shooting 60 percent (9-of-15) from the field. On the flip side, the Pride shot just 2-of-14 for 14.3 percent in the opening frame.
Though Hofstra settled in at the start of the second quarter, it couldn’t make up much ground as Elon took a 40-24 lead to the break with five players all recording a team-high six points in the first half for the Phoenix. In the second half, though, the two teams were sluggish to open the third quarter before a buzzer-beating three-pointer by E’Lexis Davis started a race to the finish.
With Elon leading 54-38 after three quarters, the Davis three-pointer started a run of Hofstra hitting 8-of-11 from range to climb back as close as five at 67-62 and 70-65. Aleana Leon scored 14 of Hofstra’s 27 fourth-quarter points, including each of the last nine of the night on three three-pointers in the final 1:26.
Down the stretch, Malaya Johnson, Saadia Munford and Lexi Mercer all combined for nine free throws in the final 2:29 to help hold the Pride off. Hofstra shot 64.3 percent in the fourth quarter on 9-of-14 from the floor. Seven of those buckets were three-pointers and 10 of the 14 shots came from distance in the final frame.
All 10 Phoenix to play in the game scored with four finishing in double figures. Johnson led the way with 14 points and 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season and 10th of her career. Both Munford and Mercer closed the night with 11 points apiece and Shay Burnett finished with 10 points and five rebounds with five steals and four assists.
Leon paced Hofstra with 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting. She was held to just three points through 30 minutes before going off for her 14 in the final 10 minutes. Davis finished the night with 15 points and Marianna Kalin added 12 points.
-The Phoenix has won three CAA road games in a row after dropping each of its first four.
-Mercer tied her career high with three three-pointers for the third-straight game. She had knocked down three triples in a game just once in her first 37 career contests.
-Elon shot better than 40 percent in all four quarters to finish the game at 47.1 percent.
-Hofstra finished at 40.0 percent for the night. It is the first Phoenix opponent to hit 40 percent of its shots since William & Mary hit 48.4 percent back on Jan. 14.
-The Phoenix hit 8-of-15 three-pointers in the first half. In the second half, though, it went inside the arc and hit one of its four attempts.
-Johnson has now scored in double figures in nine of her last 10 games after opening conference play with four-straight games with seven points or less.
Elon will close the weekend with a trip to Boston to take on Northeastern on Sunday, Feb. 18. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. Elon topped the Huskies back on Jan. 7 in Alumni Gym by the score of 78-71. It marked just the third CAA game of the year for the Phoenix at the time.