ELON, N.C. – Freshman Kayla Liles led one of four players in double figures as the Elon University women’s basketball team held off a comeback from Hofstra to earn a 55-52 Colonial Athletic Association victory over the Pride on Thursday night, March 7, at Schar Center.
Elon (9-19, 4-13 CAA) snapped its five-game losing skid and earned the regular-season sweep over the Pride (9-20, 3-14 CAA). The win also clinched the Phoenix the eighth seed for the upcoming league championship tournament prior to its final game this Saturday versus Northeastern.
Liles scored 12 points to lead the Phoenix. The Owings Mills, Md., native shot 5-of-8 from the floor and added five rebounds. Brie Perpignan and Saadia Munford both had 11 for Elon while Ariel Colón added 10 points.
Hofstra was led by Marianne Kalin and her 12 points to tie Liles for game-high honors. Ana Hernandez Gil added 11 while Boogie Brozoski had 10.
It was a low-scoring affair in the opening period with both teams combining for only 13 points. The lead never got larger than four points for either side with the Pride taking the slight 7-6 advantage in the second.
Elon came out with a 7-0 run to start the second and took a 13-7 lead at the 7:34 mark after Perpignan split a pair of free throws. A 5-0 run countered by Hofstra made it a one-point game, 13-12, after a three from Hernandez, but a three-point play from Munford extended the Phoenix’s lead to four. The Pride trimmed the deficit back to two, 18-16, before the end of the half, but Liles’ three prior to the buzzer gave the Phoenix a five-point cushion going to halftime.
The Phoenix came out strong in the second half, going ahead by seven with 7:52 left in the quarter on a layup from Perpignan. A 6-0 run by Hofstra quickly evaporated that margin with Kalin making it a one-point contest at 25-24. Elon answered with a 5-0 run to go up 30-24 before the Pride again took it down to a one-point contest at 30-29. After two free throws from Colón put the Phoenix up six, 38-32, with a minute left in the third, Elon eventually took a four-point lead into the final quarter, 38-34.
A three-pointer from Anna Popovic and a jumper from Emily Maupin to start the fourth gave the Phoenix its largest lead of the night, 42-34. Hofstra however continued to chip away at the deficit and would tie the game at 44-44 with 4:10 left in the contest on a Brozoski layup. Perpignan gave the lead back to the Phoenix on a layup the next trip down the floor and put Elon up three, 47-44, on a free throw with 3:12 remaining. Brozoski brought it to a one-point game after converting two at the line, 47-46, but Munford scored the next four points to put the Phoenix up by five, 51-46, with 33 seconds remaining.
Hernandez Gil hit a three-pointer that brought the Pride within two, 51-49, with 31 seconds left. After Perpignan went 2-of-2 at the charity stripe, Hernandez Gil was fouled on another three-point attempt, rewarding her with three free throws. She would sink all three to cut the Phoenix’s lead to one, 53-52, as the Pride put Perpignan to the line again with 12 seconds left. After hitting the first, Perpignan’s second shot hit the back iron, but Munford was there on the offensive rebound and forced the Pride to foul once again. Munford hit her first before a lane violation forced the ball back to the Pride down three with nine seconds left. Brozoski tried a heavily contested three to tie the game, but the well defended play helped ice the game for the Phoenix.
Elon’s regular-season concludes with hosting Northeastern on Saturday, March 9, at Schar Center. Tip-off is at 2 p.m.