The Elon University women’s basketball team saw a combination of disappointing shooting and undisciplined defense spoil its nonconference tilt at High Point University on Sunday, Nov. 30. The Phoenix took a 87-71 loss to the Panthers to fall to 4-1 on the season.
“Unfortunately for us tonight, we didn’t shoot the ball well from the three [or] the free throw line,” Elon coach Charlotte Smith said. “We’ll regroup and refocus and get ready for the next [game].”
Elon struggled to generate offense at several points in the game. By the end of the game, the Phoenix shot 35.3 percent from field-goal range and made 16-of-27 free throw attempts. Despite offensive struggles, the Phoenix was able to take a 39-33 at halftime. It was in the second half when all aspects of Elon’s game grew stagnant, especially the defense.
After the game was tied at 56-56 with 11:06 remaining, High Point went on a 5-0 run to take its largest lead at the time. To Elon’s dismay, the Panthers were in the double bonus with over seven and a half minutes left to play. From that point forward, the Panthers were indomitable.
Sophomore guard Kaylah Keys led the offensive surge for High Point as the second half progressed. She went 8-for-14 from field goal range in the half and scored 25 points in the final 20 minutes. She helped High Point take a 70-62 lead with just under six minutes to play and finished the night with 30 points.
Although Elon trimmed the deficit to five with 3:49 left to play, the players had no response to Keys’ athleticism. The Panthers closed out the game on a 13-2 run to spoil Elon's perfect season.
Elon sophomore Lenaira Ruffin and freshman Shay Burnett each recorded career-highs with 14 and 15 points, respectively. Burnett also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Had Elon emerged victorious, the women’s basketball program would have gotten off to its best start to the season since joining the NCAA Division I. Elon will enjoy a six-day break before traveling to Raleigh to take on North Carolina State University Sunday, Dec. 7. In order to play competitively against NC State, Smith hopes to have her players improve defensively.
“We got to get better defensively,” Smith said. “We’re a good defensive team. We just have to buy into it and get it done on the defensive end.”