ELON, N.C. – Elon University women’s basketball capped off a perfect season inside Alumni Gym with an 82-61 victory over William & Mary on Thursday, March 1. In the process, Shay Burnett recorded the second triple-double in school history with 13 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.
Now 21-7 on the year, Elon has won nine games in a row and stands at 13-4 in CAA play. Finished with home games in Alumni Gym, the Phoenix posted a perfect 13-0 record at home, meaning the program’s final loss in the historic stadium came more than 365 days before its closing. With the defeat, William & Mary now stands 16-12 overall and 7-10 in the CAA.
“What a fantastic way to end our season in Alumni Gym,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “I’m so proud of this team. It’s an incredible feeling to be undefeated at home. That was one of our goals at the beginning of the season was to represent our University and represent our team at home. We knew that we had the final game in Alumni Gym and we wanted to make this season a special season at home, so incredibly proud of the team.”
With seeding for next week’s CAA Tournament taking shape as the season winds down, Elon is now locked into the No. 3 seed and will play sixth-seeded William & Mary at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, in Philadelphia. The top six teams in the tournament all receive a bye into the CAA Quarterfinals.
Elon got hot early and never slowed down. Throughout the first half, Lexi Mercer and Meme Garner both hit a pair of three-pointers and the Phoenix knocked down four in the second quarter alone.
Trailing 17-11 with 38 seconds to go in the first quarter, Saadia Munford drove to the bucket for a layup and Garner hit a three-pointer at the end of the quarter to make it a 17-16 deficit after one. To start the second quarter, Garner had back-to-back layups to put the Phoenix up 20-17 before Burnett, Mercer and Garner hit three consecutive three-pointers in a span of 73 seconds to push Elon’s lead to 12 at 29-17, bringing a Tribe timeout.
Leading by 10 at halftime, Mercer and Garner each hit three-pointers in the opening three minutes of the second half to build the lead to 13 at 46-33. Elon moved the advantage as high as 17 down the stretch in the quarter after a Jaylin Powell three-pointer and a Malaya Johnson layup.
Though William & Mary opened the fourth by cutting Elon’s lead to 13 at 60-47, the Phoenix answered with a 9-0 run to lead by a game-high 22 points on the way to the 21-point win over the Tribe. In the final minute, Burnett finished off the triple-double by pulling down her 10th rebound with 27 seconds left.
While Burnett posted the triple-double, Garner finished with a team-high 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting. She went 3-for-6 from long range and pulled down four rebounds. Ra’Shika White reached double figures with 14 points on 5-of-10 from the floor to go with six rebounds. Mercer finished with nine points while Munford and Powell both had eight.
Abby Rendle led William & Mary with 16 points on 7-of-9 from the floor. Jenna Green also added 15 points while Bianca Boggs had 11.
-Burnett’s triple-double is the second of the 2017-18 season. She also had a triple-double against Coker on Nov. 27. The triple-double Thursday night is the first in program history against a Division I program.
-Elon did a number on Jenna Green. While she had 15 points, Green finished with just three assists. Green had 14 points and 12 assists in Elon’s Jan. 14 loss at William & Mary.
-The CAA’s all-time blocks leader Abby Rendle had just three blocks Thursday. She entered the game averaging 4.6 per contest.
-Next Thursday’s matchup against William & Mary marks the second-straight CAA Tournament meeting for the Phoenix and Tribe. Last year, Elon beat William & Mary 88-60 in the CAA Semifinals in Harrisonburg, Va.
-March 1 marked the first day on the job for Elon University’s ninth president, Dr. Connie Ledoux Book. After a faculty and staff tailgate before the game, Book watched the final game in Alumni Gym from the same section former president, Dr. Leo M. Lambert, took in games in Alumni Gym.
Closing out the regular season, Elon will visit UNCW on Saturday, March 3. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. on North Carolina’s coastline.