The Elon University women’s basketball team cruised to a 92-49 exhibition victory over Catawba College on Sunday, Nov. 2.

Freshman guard Shay Burnett led all scorers with 21 points off the bench, while senior guard Zora Stephenson chipped in with 18 points and nine boards.

“This is what you practice for. You practice to play,” Stephenson said. “It’s nice to have an exhibition game under our belts before the regular season starts up.”

Burnett, a Graham native, shot a stellar 8 of 9 from the field and was a perfect 2 of 2 from behind the arc in her first collegiate appearance. 

“I just ran the plays like coach told us and I happened to be open on some cuts and happened to be open on some shots,” she said.

The Phoenix led the entire way and jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, while Catawba took almost five minutes to get on the scoreboard.  Elon continued to build up their lead as Stephenson hit one of her three 3-pointers in the first half to take a 28-15 lead at the 5:29 mark.

Sophomore guard Essence Baucom then had the play of the day with 3:50 remaining in the first half.  The University of Alabama at Birmingham transfer’s crossover at midcourt beat the entire Catawba team on the floor in transition and finished it off with a layup to give Elon the 35-15 lead.

“All around, we’ve been excited for Essence to play so that’s a great addition,” Stephenson said.

The Phoenix defense once again caused a long scoring drought for the Indians as they were held without a field goal in the final 5:39 of the first half.

Elon’s lead continued to grow in the second half as head coach Charlotte Smith was able to go deep into her bench.

“We were able to play a lot of people and I think that’s something we’ll continue throughout the season,” Smith said.

Smith plans to continue to rotating players in and out and admits the starting lineup is still a work in progress.

“I’m looking every day to solidify the starting lineup,” she said.

The Phoenix matched its shooting percentage in the second half, having also shot 50 percent in the opening period. For Smith, it was more about seeing the offense take it shape rather than the barrage of points.

“We started running our motion offense the way I wanted to see us execute,” she said.

The offense may be off to a hot start, but Smith wants the defense to raise its level to that of the offense.

“Our offense is ahead of our defense,” she said.  “Once we become more solid on defense I think that will take this team to the next level.”

The Phoenix will kick off their regular season in under two weeks when Anderson University visits Alumni Gym on Friday, Nov. 14 at 5 p.m.