ELON, N.C. – Junior Lexi Mercer and sophomore Emily Maupin combined for 37 points to help the Elon University women’s basketball team to a 76-68 victory over College of Charleston in its Colonial Athletic Association home opener on Friday night, Jan. 11, inside Schar Center.
Elon (7-7, 2-1 CAA) earned its second straight win during league play while picking up its 10th straight victory over the Cougars (4-9, 0-2 CAA). The contest was also the first women’s CAA game played inside the Phoenix’s new facility at Schar Center.
Mercer tied her career-high with 19 points in the contest, shooting 7-of-13 from the field including 4-of-6 from three, a new personal-best in made triples for the Goldsboro, N.C., native. Maupin also shot the ball well, going 9-of-13 from the floor with a game-high eight rebounds. Overall, the Phoenix shot 27-of-54 from the floor, shooting at least 50 percent for the second straight game.
College of Charleston’s Deja Ford had a game-high 22 points, hitting 9-of-13 from the floor and 3-of-4 from three. Darien Huff was the other player in double figures for the Cougars with 16 points. CofC ended the game 25-of-54 (.463) from the floor.
A three-pointer by Huff opened the scoring in the contest for the Cougars, who was up 5-2 early in the game. Back-to-back layups from Mercer and Maupin gave Elon a 6-5 lead before College of Charleston went back in front, 9-6, on consecutive baskets. A three by Mercer sparked a 6-0 run for the Phoenix who took a 12-9 lead over the Cougars. After a Huff jumper made it a two-point game, 14-12 in favor of Elon, the Phoenix closed out the first on a 10-4 run to take a 24-16 lead into the second.
Maupin pushed Elon’s lead to 10, 26-16, to start the second quarter, but CofC responded with a 10-0 run to tie the game at 26-all. The Cougars would tie the game again at 28-28 with 4:30 left to play, but three from Anna Popovic sparked a 13-4 run to close out the opening half as the Phoenix went into the locker room ahead 41-32.
Opening the second half, Elon saw its advantage balloon to 16 points, 48-32, after starting the third with a 7-0 run with baskets from Mercer, Maupin and Popovic. An 8-2 CofC run sliced the lead down to 10, 50-40, for the Phoenix as the Cougars kept within distance going into the final quarter down 52-42.
A layup by Huff to start the fourth pulled College of Charleston within single digits, 52-44, with the Cougars narrowing the Phoenix’s lead down to as many as five points twice in the opening two minutes of the quarter. After CofC’s Arynn Eady made a layup that made the score 54-49 with 8:09 in the quarter, a 6-0 run by the Phoenix put the maroon and gold back up by double digits, 60-49. Elon again pushed its lead to 11, 68-57, on a jumper by Popovic with 3:27 left to play.
CofC was not going away however, holding the Phoenix without a field goal for the remainder of the game and going on a 11-4 run including a three-pointer by Ford with 20 seconds left that made it a four-point game, 72-68. Elon was able to hit its free throws down the stretch and held on for the 76-68 victory.
Elon is back at home on Sunday, Jan. 13, hosting UNCW at 2 p.m. at Schar Center. The game will be broadcasted on Phoenix All-Access.