It was a night filled with offensive inconsistency and a struggle for points for the Elon University women’s basketball team in its Thursday night match-up against the James Madison University Dukes.
The Phoenix, coming off a four-day break, could not seem to find a way to contest the offensive output put forth by the Dukes in a 68-51 loss.
“The outcome of this game could have been a lot different if we cut down on turnovers.” Head coach Charlotte Smith said. “We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well tonight, so we have to find second chance opportunities.”
Freshman guard Shay Burnett was the only Phoenix player to register in double figure points for the game as she finished with 10 to coincide with her four rebounds. James Madison found a way to contain and halt freshman center Malaya Johnson’s hot streak for the entirety of the game as the Dukes held the youngster to zero points. Johnson did, however, contribute mightily to missed shots by registering seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
“We just need to find our flow.” Sophomore forward Jenifer Rhodes said. “Offensively, we just need to bring it together for a full 40 minutes.”
Albeit the loss, Elon held the Colonial Athletic Association leading Dukes to only 38 percent shooting from the field and 13 percent from beyond arc.
“I definitely think we played good defense in the first half.” Shay Burnett said. “We did have a few miscues in the second half, but overall I think our defensive pressure was pretty good.”
Turnovers proved to be the kryptonite for Elon early on as it had 22 in total, with a whopping 15 coming in the first half alone. Entry passes seemed to trouble the Phoenix the most with a majority of its turnovers coming from such plays. Coach Smith was not too concerned with the issue as she attributed the errors with players over-thinking.
“A lot of the turnovers were (I felt) unforced errors.” Smith said. “We just have to make better decisions when we’re trying to make entry passes… when you study long, you study wrong, so we have to get better ball movement and not force the issue.”
It was a low scoring affair early in the first half with both teams trading defensive blows. Points didn’t start appearing more frequently until there were just under four minutes left in the first half with the score at 22-15 in the Dukes favor. James Madison took a twelve-point advantage into the locker room at halftime after a short run that put the score at 32-20.
The Dukes opened up the second half on a 7-2 run that put Elon down 39-23 early before the Phoenix made a run of its own to cut the lead to ten to make the score 45-35. With each minute passing, James Madison started to slowly pull away until the game clock struck zero and the Dukes left Alumni Gym with its fifth consecutive CAA win.
After a few days of rest, Elon will host Towson University at Alumni Gym on Sunday, Jan. 18. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.