The Elon University women’s basketball team fell to No. 1 seed James Madison University Saturday, 63-60 in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament semifinals. The loss marks Elon’s third to the Dukes this year.
“I’m very proud of the way my team came out and competed,” said head coach Charlotte Smith. “I felt like we played with a lot of passion, a lot of fire and a lot of heart, and I’m very proud of the way they executed the game plan today.”
Things started off well for Elon. Freshman guard Shay Burnett had 10 points in the first half, going five for five from the field and tallying three steals. The Phoenix led by as many as six with 1:46 to play, going into the locker room leading 35-32.
After halftime, the Phoenix was able to maintain the lead until the 13:46 mark, when James Madison junior Destiny Jones made a layup to give the Dukes a 41-39 advantage.
The Phoenix subsequently tied the game twice to keep it alive, but the Dukes held the lead for the rest of the contest. Elon had another shot with 46 seconds left. Burnett’s layup didn’t fall, and the Phoenix missed two 3-point attempts on a later possession. James Madison missed four free throws in the waning moments, but also recovered its offensive rebounds.
Burnett led the offensive charge for the Phoenix with 18 points on the day, but Elon struggled to shoot effectively, making just 29 percent of its shots from the field in the second half and going 0 for 4 from beyond the arc.
Elon made a meager 20 percent of its shots from beyond the arc in the contest — senior forward Sam Coffer and sophomore guard Essence Baucom both made one.
“We’re just going to build on [our foundation] for next year,” Burnett said. “We’ll keep the tradition going.”
Next week the Phoenix will face Georgia Tech March 26 in the first round of the NIT Tournament.