ELON, N.C. – The Elon University women’s basketball team returns to the hardwood this Sunday, Jan. 13, hosting UNCW in a Colonial Athletic Association matchup at Schar Center. Tip-off between the Phoenix and the Seahawks is scheduled for 2 p.m.
The game will be streamed through Phoenix All-Access at elonphoenix.com. Fans can also listen to the game on WSOE 89.3. Other updates of the game between the Phoenix and the Seahawks will be provided on Twitter at the handle @ElonWBasketball.
Series History (Elon leads 11-5)
The Phoenix and Seahawks are slated for their 17th meeting all-time this Sunday. In a series dating back to 1978, Elon carries a 11-5 advantage over UNCW including winners of seven straight. The Phoenix swept the Seahawks in both meetings last year including a 58-49 victory in UNCW in the most recent contest. UNCW’s last win in the series came in 2015.
Last Time Out
The Phoenix opened the home portion of its CAA schedule with a 76-68 victory versus College of Charleston on Friday night, Jan. 11, in the first CAA women’s game at Schar Center. Lexi Mercer tied her career-high with 19 points to lead the Phoenix while Emily Maupin added 18 for the maroon and gold. Mercer was 4-of-6 from downtown, setting a new career-high for made three-pointers in a game. The win was the 10th straight overall for the Phoenix against the Cougars while improving the maroon and gold to 2-1 in league play.
• Elon is currently second in the CAA in scoring at 69.4 points per game. The Phoenix is also third overall in the league in field-goal percentage (.415).
• While Elon has allowed opponents to score 71.3 points per contest against them, the Phoenix is only allowing 65.5 points per game versus non power-five opponents. Versus those opponents, Elon is putting up 72.2 points per game.
• Elon currently has four active players averaging seven points or more with three of the four in their first or second year of collegiate basketball. Maupin leads the team with 12.6 points per game followed by Mercer, the lone active upperclassman for the Phoenix, at 11.8.
• Since entering the starting lineup for the first time this season versus Northeastern on Jan. 4, Saadia Munford is averaging 10.0 points per game while also averaging 4.7 boards per contest and 5.7 assists per game, which is currently tied for third in the CAA.
• Maupin leads the Phoenix in rebounding at 6.6 boards per contest and is eighth overall in the CAA. Ariel Colón is currently second at 5.4 boards per contest and is also third in the CAA in double-doubles with three this season.
• Elon has made the most of its chances at the free throw line this season, ranking 37th in the nation in free throws made at 215 and 41st in free throw attempts with 308.
• Elon returns eight letterwinners from its team that successfully defended its Colonial Athletic Association Tournament title and made a return trip to the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
• The Phoenix closed out 2017-18 with a 25-8 record overall and a 14-4 mark during league play including a 13-game winning streak to close out the regular season and conference tournament.
• The Phoenix was tabbed to finish third in the 2018-19 CAA Preseason Poll as conducted by the league’s head coaches on Oct. 18. Elon received one first-place vote en route to 61 points for a tie for third place. James Madison (79 points) and Drexel (71 points) were selected in front of the Phoenix, who tied with Delaware for third with 61 points.
• Elon returns three starters from last year’s team including sophomore guard Saadia Munford, an CAA All-Rookie team selection in 2017-18. Munford was chosen as a Preseason All-CAA selection this season with her spot on the third team.
• Additionally, the Phoenix added five newcomers to the 2018-19 roster, which will again be one of the youngest in the nation with only two upperclassmen and no seniors.
Scouting UNCW (8-5, 1-1 CAA)
UNCW sits at 8-5 on the season and is 1-1 in the CAA after its most recent game setback at William & Mary in which the Seahawks fell to the Tribe, 70-64, on Friday. Prior to that game, UNCW had won three straight and opened league play with a 71-49 win at home over College of Charleston on Jan. 4.
The Seahawks are averaging 65.1 points per game and is allowing opponents to score 62.5 points per contest. UNCW is also one of the better teams in the league in playing the passing lanes, leading the CAA in steals per game a 9.9. Redshirt senior guard Shrita Parker leads the Seahawks at 18.8 points per game, which is third in the CAA. She also leads the team in assists with 47.
Gigi Smith is second on the team at 13.8 points per game while Lacey Suggs is third at just under ten points per game at 9.2. Sophomore forward Paige Powell is the team’s top rebounder at 6.5 boards per game.
Karen Barefoot is in her second season at the helm of the UNCW women’s basketball program. Barefoot was the head coach at Elon from 2008-11 and added another familiar Elon face to her coaching staff this season in assistant coach Ali Ford. Ford lettered for the Phoenix from 2009-13, finishing as the program’s career leader in three-pointers (338) and second in scoring with 2,020 points.
After playing its home games in Alumni Gym since the start of the program in 1972, Elon moves into its new facility, Schar Center, this season. The 5,100-seat facility will provide an elite venue for Phoenix basketball and volleyball games in addition to convocations, speakers and other major campus events. The facility is named for Dwight and Martha Schar, of Palm Beach, Fla.
With 25 victories last season, Elon posted back-to-back 20-win campaigns for the first time as a Division I program. Overall, Elon has posted three 20-win seasons during the Division I era.
The Phoenix heads to Williamsburg, Va., to face William & Mary next Sunday, Jan. 20. That game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.