ELON, N.C. – Sophomore Emily Maupin scored a career-high 26 points, but the Elon University women’s basketball team could not withstand a strong comeback effort from UNCW, falling to the Seahawks 75-70 in a Colonial Athletic Association contest on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 13, inside Schar Center.
Maupin was 12-of-17 in her career day, adding 11 rebounds to her stat line for the Phoenix (7-8, 2-2 CAA). It was the third double-double of the season for the Charlottesville, Va., native. Lexi Mercer added 17 points – two points shy of tying her career-high – while hitting a personal-best five three-pointers for the maroon and gold. Overall, Elon shot 24-of-58 (.414) from the floor and 7-of-18 from three.
UNCW (9-5, 2-1 CAA) was led by Gigi Smith’s 22 points to guide the Seahawks. Shrita Parker added 16 for UNCW who shot 26-59 (.441) from the floor overall, but was 16-of-32 in the second half.
Elon got off to a strong start to open the game. Maupin began with a basket in the paint and helped the Phoenix to a 9-2 start in the opening period. After Parker made a layup for UNCW with 2:52 left in the quarter, Elon held the Seahawks scoreless for the rest of the quarter, taking a 15-4 lead after the first.
UNCW pressured to close the gap in the start of the second, opening the period with a 12-4 run with Elon holding a 19-16 advantage. Maupin quieted the run briefly with a layup at the 5:09 mark, but the Seahawks responded with two baskets to make it a one-point game, 21-20, on a Paige Powell shot in the paint. Jaylin Powell’s three-pointer gave Elon some breathing room, 24-20, but UNCW made it again a one-possession game, 24-22, after a pair of free throws by Parker. The Phoenix used a 6-0 run to close out the first half with Maupin scoring a couple of baskets and headed into the locker room ahead 30-22.
The Phoenix used a 10-2 run to start the second half to earn its biggest lead of the game. Maupin and Mercer hit back-to-back threes to start the third period while another Maupin basket and a Ariel Colón jumper put Elon ahead 40-24 with 7:53 left in the third. UNCW did not go away however, using a 20-6 run over the next 5:11 to pull itself within two, 46-44, on a three-pointer by Timber Tate. Maupin added a layup to put Elon up 48-44, but a pair of Seahawks’ free throws and a three-pointer at the end of the quarter by Tate gave UNCW the lead, 49-48, going into the fourth.
The Seahawks pushed to extend their lead in the fourth quarter taking a seven-point advantage, 60-53, with 6:39 left in the game after another Tate three. Elon answered with a 7-0 run to tie the game at 60-all on a layup from Maupin with 4:19 left to play. A jumper by Smith and a three-pointer from Parker put UNCW up by five, 65-60, and another three from Parker put Elon down by six, 68-62, with 2:26 left to play. Mercer responded with a three of her own to slice UNCW’s lead in half, 68-65, with just over two minutes left to play.
As time ticked to less than a minute remaining, Parker hit one out of two free throws that put UNCW ahead 71-67 with 44 seconds left to play. On the other end of the floor, Mercer hit a tough, contested three-pointer at the top of the key to bring the Phoenix within one, 71-70, with 36 seconds left. Needing one more defensive stop for a chance to take the lead, Elon pressured UNCW into taking a rushed shot, but Powell was there for the offensive rebound and putback to put the Seahawks ahead 73-70 with seven seconds remaining. The Phoenix looked to tie the game on the next trip down the floor, but Mercer’s attempt from three was heavily contested with UNCW securing possession and closing out the game at the free throw line to escape with the victory.
The Phoenix starts a three-game, CAA road trip next Sunday, Jan. 20, at William & Mary. That contest is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.