The Elon University women’s basketball team got out to a slow start that it could never recover from, dropping a 71-60 decision to Appalachian State University Feb. 17 at the Holmes Center in Boone, N.C.
The Mountaineers controlled play from the start by jumping out to an early 10-3 lead at the first media timeout. Their lead would stretch to as many as 15 points late in the first half, supported by strong defense and rebounding. Appalachian State scored 22 second chance points on the night by taking control of the boards. Junior Mariah Sydnor, the leading scorer in the Southern Conference, scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the first half for the Mountaineers.
Elon struggled shooting the ball in the first half, finishing the frame at just 34.5 percent from the field. The Mountaineers led, 40-29, after 20 minutes, but the Phoenix would not go down without a fight.
Elon went on a 16-9 run to open the second half, cutting the Mountaineers lead to four with just under 13 minutes to play. A jumper from junior Zora Stephenson with 7:30 remaining made it a one-point Phoenix deficit, but Appalachian State was too much for Elon on the night. A pair of Sydnor jumpers stretched the Mountaineers lead back to nine, 64-55, a deficit that would prove to be insurmountable for the Phoenix. The final score was 71-60 in favor of Appalachian State, Elon’s first loss in five games.
Stephenson and freshman Lauren Brown led the scoring attack for the Phoenix, each scoring 14 points. Stephenson was 4 of 8 from 3-point range on the night, with three of those 3-pointers coming in the second half. Junior Sam Coffer scored 13 points for Elon, while sophomore Jessica Farmer added eight of her own off the bench.
The Mountaineers had four players in double figures, with Sydnor leading the way. Sydnor, who averaged 19.6 points per game entering the contest, finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore KeKe Cooper added 16 points for Appalachian State, while sophomore Bria Huffman poured in 14.
Elon falls to 12-13, 8-6 SoCon with the loss. The Phoenix will return to Alumni Gym Feb. 22 for a matchup against Wofford College on Senior Day. Tip is set for 4 p.m.