Senior guard Zora Stephenson scored 16 points Sunday as the Elon University women’s basketball team beat the Towson University Tigers, 58-43.
“I wasn’t hesitating,” said Stephenson. “I was letting it fly right when it hit my hands.”
Stephenson made 40 percent of her shots from beyond the arc, and 46 percent from the floor. Her 13 points in the second half helped put the Tigers away, including a pair of threes near the end to seal the win for the Phoenix.
“I think it’s the plays where we’re not looking for me that I get open more,” she said. “The defense is worried about something else and they get lost.”
The Phoenix held the Tigers to just 20 percent shooting from the floor in the second half, with only 14 percent of Towson’s shots going in from beyond the arc after halftime.
“We had a solid defensive effort,” said head coach Charlotte Smith. “We rebounded the ball well.”
Freshman center Malaya Johnson led the team with 11 rebounds, while freshman guard Shay Burnett added eight of her own.
Sophomore guard Essence Baucom finished with 13 points and six rebounds, making two crucial jumpers at the 11:56 and 11:11 marks in the second half to give Elon a six point lead.
“Essence did a phenomenal job of pushing tempo,” said Smith. “Anytime we can push pace we can always get some good things out of transition offense.”
Elon scored 28 points in the paint to Towson’s 10, and also out-rebounded the Tigers, 48-34.
Burnett, whose aggressive play in the paint drew many foul calls, led the stout defensive performance by the Phoenix.
“I love to take charges,” she said. “I think it motivates me to play defense when I know I can get in front of them and take a charge.”
Burnett also contributed on offense, scoring 11 points and dishing out two assists.
With Towson in the lead 40-39 with 9:06 remaining in the second half, sophomore forward Jenifer Rhodes stepped up and made a jumper that put Elon ahead. They would not relinquish the lead again, as Baucom and Stephenson scored on the ensuing possessions to give the Phoenix a six-point advantage.
“I took shots when I saw that I was open,” said Baucom. “When I wasn’t, I just tried to find an open teammate.”
Elon continued to extend their lead as the game went on, leading by as many as 16 in the second half. They finished the game on a 19-3 run, as Towson turned the ball over on five consecutive possessions.
“I thought we did a good job of spacing the floor out and ball movement in the second half,” said Smith. “We did a good job of taking care of the ball today.”
The Phoenix move to 4-2 in conference play in its first season as a part of the Colonel Athletic Association. Towson falls to 3-3 with the loss.
Elon will travel to Wilmington, N.C. to take on University of North Carolina- Wilmington on Jan. 22. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.