GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Elon University women’s basketball team needed one stop on the defensive end to escape Timmons Arena with a victory over Furman University.
But Furman’s Sarah Durdaller had other plans. The junior guard from Marietta, Ga, hit a three-pointer with nine seconds on the clock to lead her team to a 66-65 win over the Phoenix on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 25, in Greenville, S.C.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Phoenix, which led by as many as nine, 47-38, with 14:58 left, only to see another comfortable second half lead slip away.
The Paladins went on a 15-6 run from that point to tie the game at 53 with 5:10 left on the first of senior guard Brigid Morrissey’s two free throws.
From there, the teams traded jabs, with neither side able to create separation and seize control of the game.
Finally, with 1:07 left to go, freshman guard Lauren Brown nailed a three to give the Phoenix a 64-61 lead and, it seemed, the game.
But the Paladins responded. Junior forward Brittany Hodges pulled Furman within one with a layup, and after Phoenix senior guard Kelsey Harris split a pair of free throws, Durdaller hit the dagger, sending the 704 purple-clad Paladin fans home with something to cheer about.
The Phoenix couldn’t create separation from the Paladins early despite a 15-4 run to open the game, and a 10-4 run to stretch their lead to six, 34-28, with under four minutes to play in the half. In both instances, the Paladins fought back, trailing the Phoenix by just four, 36-32 at halftime.
The Phoenix had four players score in double figures, led by Brown’s 15 points. Freshman forward Jenifer Rhodes added 14, junior guard Sam Coffer had 13, including three three-pointers, and Harris had 11.
The Paladins, meanwhile, had four double-digit scorers of their own, led by a game-high 17 points from sophomore guard Holli Wilkins. Durdaller finished with 14, freshman guard Whitney Bunn had 13 and Hodges added 12.
With the win, the Paladins improve to 11-8 overall, 5-3 in the SoCon. The loss drops the Phoenix to 8-11, 4-4 in Southern Conference play.
The Phoenix will look to rebound on Monday, Jan. 27, when it travels to Spartanburg, S.C., for an 11:30 a.m. tipoff with Wofford College.