ELON, N.C. – The Elon University women’s basketball team battled strong with Marist for the first three quarters, but a low-scoring fourth allowed the Red Foxes to pull away and earn a 61-57 victory over the Phoenix on Friday night, Nov. 30, at Schar Center.
After heading into the fourth quarter with a four-point lead at 49-45, Elon (2-4) could muster only eight points in the final period as Marist (6-1) overtook the Phoenix. The Red Foxes doubled the maroon and gold’s scoring tally in the fourth while holding the Phoenix to 3-for-13 in the period.
Freshman Brie Perpignan posted her first career double-double with her team-high 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Phoenix. Perpignan finished 7-of-11 from the floor and was one of two players in double digits for the Phoenix. Lexi Mercer added 14 for Elon and had three three-pointers. Overall, Elon shot 22-of-62 in the game and was 7-of-25 from three.
Alana Gilmer had a game-high 27 points for Marist while Rebekah Hand added 12 for the Red Foxes, who came into the game ranked ninth in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 poll. Marist shot 22-of-55 from the field and was only 2-for-12 from behind the arc, but went 15-of-20 from the charity stripe.
Elon got off to a good start in the game, scoring the first two baskets on shots by Emily Maupin and Perpignan. Marist battled back to take a 15-13 lead on a layup by Maura Fitzpatrick with 4:19 left in the first, but Elon closed out the period on an 8-2 run to take the lead at the end of the first, 21-17.
Marist tied the game at 21-all and again at 23-23 in the second quarter, before a three-pointer by Mercer and a layup from Saadia Munford put the Phoenix back in front, 28-23. Elon extended the lead back to five, 30-25, but the Red Foxes trimmed it to a one-point game, 30-29, with 2:52 left in the half. Both teams battled back and forth for the rest of the period as Elon took a 32-31 lead into the locker room.
The Phoenix went into the break shooting 13-of-31 (.413) from the field while going 4-of-13 from three. Marist was held under 40 percent shooting from the first half after shooting 11-of-29 (.379) and going only 2-of-10 from downtown. The Red Foxes were 7-of-8 from the free throw line, while Elon was just 2-for-2.
After Marist took the lead at 33-32 to begin the third quarter, Elon went on a 10-0 run to earn its largest lead of the game at nine, 42-33. Anna Popovic started the run with a layup followed by a three-point play from Perpignan. A Maupin layup pushed Elon’s lead to six, 39-33, before Mercer drained a three-pointer at the 6:44 mark to put the maroon and gold ahead 42-33 and forcing Marist to call a timeout.
Marist did not go away after the run, battling back to cut its deficit to three, 45-42, on a pair of Gilmer free throws in the third. Elon pushed its lead back to six, 48-42, but Marist would cut it down to four, 49-45, before the third quarter came to a close.
The Phoenix went into a scoring drought to begin the fourth as Marist opened the quarter on a 10-0 run to take a 55-49 lead with 5:30 left in the game. A Perpignan three and a Mercer free throw brought Elon back within two in the contest, 55-53, before Marist extended it back to four, 57-53. The Phoenix tied the game at 57-all on back-to-back baskets from Perpignan, but a jumper by Gilmer at the 1:35 mark put Marist up for good. The Phoenix missed a three-pointer with 1:02 remaining, but held off the Red Foxes on the defensive end to regain possession with a chance to tie it or take the lead with 13 seconds left.
Elon however missed a jumper in the lane that was corralled on the rebound by Hand forcing the Phoenix to foul. The Argyle, Texas, native connected on both free throws to put the Red Foxes ahead 61-57, setting the final score.
Elon will have a quick turnaround as the Phoenix hits the road to face Hampton on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 3 p.m. at the Hampton Convocation Center.