The Elon University women’s basketball team defeated Delaware on Wednesday, 77-76. The win marked back-to-back victories for the Phoenix, and honored the seniors, who combined for 26 points in the game.

“I’m just proud of all the memories we’ve created here,” said head coach Charlotte Smith. “One of those was tonight. Great crowd, great game, and we got the win on senior night.”

Delaware started the game on a 9-0 run, as the Phoenix struggled to find a rhythm on offense. Elon’s first basket of the game came with 16:07 remaining in the first half when sophomore guard Lauren Brown drove for a layup. The Phoenix rallied to pull within two at the 12:43 mark, but The Blue Hens continued to answer with points of their own. At halftime, Delaware was up by five, 37-32.

After the half, the Phoenix regrouped and was able to find some momentum. Senior guard Zora Stephenson immediately drained two threes to give Elon its first lead of the game with 18:53 to play. The teams traded the lead throughout the half, with each leading by as many as four. With 1:35 in regulation, freshman guard Shay Burnett made two free throws to give Elon a 67-65 lead. However, with 12 seconds remaining, Delaware’s Courtni Green made a layup to tie the game at 67 and force overtime.

In overtime, the score remained close, with Elon going up by four with 1:12 to play. On the ensuing Delaware position, Erika Brown had a successful and-1, pulling the Blue Hens within one. Delaware had a chance to win the game with two seconds remaining, but successive attempts by Green and Brown both missed their marks, securing the victory for the Phoenix.

“I’d say overtime is our time, as coach says,” Burnett said. “I just felt like we needed to execute the offense in overtime to pull out this win.”

The game was physical, with Elon committing 26 fouls and Delaware committing 22. Delaware forward Joy Caracciolo fouled out with 21 points on the game in overtime. For the Phoenix, junior forward Autumn Carter fouled out after scoring 13, and sophomore forward Jenifer Rhodes fouled out with 7 points.

The victory gives the Phoenix a regular season record of 18-11, with an 11-7 record in CAA play. Delaware drops to 13-16 overall with an 8-10 conference record. Elon enters CAA tournament play as the four seed, and will travel to Upper Marlboro, Md., to take on fifth-seeded UNCW  Mar. 13 at 2:30 p.m.

“We gotta take it game by game,” Stephenson said of the tournament. “Whoever we have first we’ll focus on, and then we’ll go from there.”


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