DURHAM, N.C. – The Elon University women’s basketball team suffered a 81-64 setback at Duke on Sunday, Nov. 18, inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.
After having an early lead in the game, the Phoenix (1-2) could not keep up that momentum falling to the Blue Devils (2-1) for the fifth straight time. Elon battled tough against the Blue Devils through the opening half, trailing by only nine at the break, but the Phoenix suffered cold shooting in second half allowing Duke to pull away.
“I’m very pleased with the performance of my team and the show that they put on today,” said Phoenix head coach Charlotte Smith. “I felt like we were very locked in the first half in terms of offensive execution and trying to attack the 3-2 zone. The biggest thing we have to figure out is the rebounding piece and I think that will put us in games.”
Lexi Mercer led three Elon players in double figures with 19 points while going 5-of-10 from the field including a pair of three-pointers. Ariel Colón and Emily Maupin contributed with 16 points apiece with Colón also grabbing a team-best eight rebounds. Overall, Elon shot 39.6 percent from the field (21-of-53) while going 7-of-23 from three.
Duke’s Leaonna Odom had a double-double with game-highs in points (23) and rebounds (10). She was one of four double-digit scoring players for the Blue Devils, who received 12 points apiece from Haley Gorecki and Faith Suggs and 10 from Miela Goodchild. Duke shot 52.3 percent overall from the field (34-of-65) and outrebounded the Phoenix, 41-30, on the glass.
Elon opened up strong, building a 7-2 lead with Mercer scoring all seven for the Phoenix in the first three-plus minutes in the opening quarter. Duke went on a 9-3 run to take the lead at 11-10, but the Phoenix retook the advantage on three straight fouls shots to move ahead 13-11 at the 2:37 mark. A three-pointer by Colón tied the game at 20-20 with just 43 seconds left in the first, but Duke closed out the opening period with the final four points to take a 24-20 advantage into the second.
Duke scored the first five points of the second and opened the quarter on a 11-5 run to take a 10-point lead, 35-25, after a Suggs layup at the 6:50 mark. The Phoenix countered with a quick 4-0 run to bring the deficit to six, 35-29, on a layup by Maupin with 5:56 left in the quarter. The Blue Devils extended the lead back to double digits, 45-34, on a pair of free throws from Odom with 3:47 left on the clock, but a 5-0 run by Elon over the next two minutes brought Elon back within six, 45-39. The Blue Devils were able to score the final three points to close out the first half with a 48-39 lead.
The Phoenix went into the locker room shooting at 46.2 percent (12-of-26) in the first 20 minutes. Elon was also awarded 16 trips to the charity stripe, connecting on 11 of those opportunities in the first half.
The Blue Devils came out of the second half holding the Phoenix to 25 total points and only 9-of-27 from the field in the final 20 minutes of the contest. Duke continued its hot shooting, going 15-of-31 while outrebounding the Phoenix 23-15, including 11 second-chance opportunities in the final two quarters.
Elon brought the deficit to single digits once in the second half as a layup by Maupin at the 7:56 mark in the third brought the score to 50-41. Duke broke the game open with a 12-5 run over the next four minutes to extend its lead to 16. The Blue Devils would sustain their advantage until the final 81-64 result.
Elon closes out its three-game road trip with a visit to Appalachian State on Tuesday, Nov. 20. That game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.