WILMINGTON, N.C. – A battle from the start, Elon University women’s basketball earned its 10th consecutive win with a 58-49 road victory over UNCW to close the regular season Saturday, March 3, inside Trask Coliseum.
Elon finishes the regular season with a 22-7 record and a 14-4 mark in CAA play. Now at 10 wins in a row, the stretch sets a new Division I program record, breaking last year’s nine-game run from Dec. 17, 2016, to Jan. 15, 2017. On the flip side, UNCW closes the regular season 11-18 with a 4-14 mark in CAA play.
With a one-point lead at halftime, Elon clamped down on the defensive end in allowing just 20 points – 10 per quarter – over the course of the final 20 minutes on the way to the win.
Down the stretch in the third, Elon finished on an 11-3 run to take a 44-39 advantage to the fourth after trailing 36-33 with 7:14 to go after a Lacey Suggs layup. In the final seven minutes of the quarter, UNCW didn’t hit a shot from the field and it only knocked down 2-of-12 for 16.7 percent in the quarter.
Elon’s defense kept the Seahawks off balance in the fourth, too, with a 4-for-17 clip for 23.5 percent. UNCW did cut Elon’s lead to just four with 4:24 to play after a Timber Tate three-pointer, but Garner helped Elon answer with a three-pointer that started an 8-0 run to go up by a game-high 12 and put the game out of reach.
The Phoenix opened the day on a 9-0 run to take a 9-3 lead to the first media timeout. Malaya Johnson led the run with six points, but Lexi Mercer knocked down a three-pointer during the stretch to go up six. Out of the stoppage though, the Seahawks closed the opening 10 minutes with an 11-2 run to lead 14-11 after one quarter of play.
Starting the second, Elon quickly erased the deficit with a 5-0 run behind a Shay Burnett three-pointer and a Garner jumper to go up 16-14 less than two minutes into the frame. After the two sides traded buckets with UNCW taking a 22-21 lead with 6:22 to go before half, Elon went on another 5-0 run with a Garner three-pointer and a Johnson layup to lead 26-22. Up 30-26 with 2:31 to go, UNCW scored the final three points of the half on a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Chinyere Bell.
Johnson went 7-of-8 from the floor on the day and finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Garner added 13 points with three three-pointers on the day. She also pulled down five rebounds in the win. Shay Burnettapproached triple-double territory again with 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Suggs led the Seahawks with 11 points on the afternoon while both Bell and Jenny DeGraaf added 10 points apiece. Only six players scored for the Seahawks in the game.
-With her first-quarter three-pointer, Mercer has now hit a three-pointer in 10 consecutive games going back to Jan. 28 at Towson.
-Elon’s defense held UNCW to 20.7 percent from the floor in the second half after it shot 44.4 percent in the opening 20 minutes.
-The Phoenix shot 51.1 percent on the afternoon and has now show better than 50 percent in five of its last six games.
With the 29-game regular season over, Elon will head to Philadelphia with the rest of the CAA to compete in the conference tournament. With a first-round bye, the Phoenix will meet sixth-seeded William & Mary on Thursday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m. Should Elon advance, it would meet the winner of the No. 2 vs. No. 7/10 game in the semifinals on Friday, March 9, at 5:30 p.m. with the winner of that game playing for the CAA title on Saturday, March 10, at 1 p.m.