The Elon University women’s basketball team used a second half onslaught from deep to roll to an 83-55 win over Towson University Friday night in Alumni Gym.
And, with the win, the Phoenix started the second half of Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play with its 13th win in the last 14 games, a streak that has
“I’m so excited that we came out focused and ready to handle business today,” said head coach Charlotte Smith. “We talked about it being a team effort in the beginning of the game, and just having five weapons on the floor at all times, trying to give everybody confidence in knowing that everybody has the ability to score and go out there and score.”
After a sluggish first half, Elon caught fire from 3-point range in the second half, shooting 9-of-13 from behind the arc, including a stretch where the Phoenix made 7-of-8. Redshirt junior forward Meme Garner led the charge, making four of the seven en route to a career-high 14 points.
“I think we were able to get defensive boards and then go,” Garner said. “The team was finding me, so I was just knocking shots down like I was supposed to do.”
Junior guard Shay Burnett led the Phoenix with 18 points, eight rebounds and six points. Burnett felt the team’s offensive outburst in the second half was a result of its defensive efforts.
“I just think we picked up our defensive intensity a lot,” Burnett said. “We just started getting on a roll, shooting really well from behind the arc. I think that really pushed the momentum.”
Smith agreed, adding, “We did a better job of pushing tempo. They pressed us a little bit, and we’ve talked about when people press us, we have to make them pay. We got easy looks there. In the fast break, we did a really good job of pitching the ball ahead and finding the open man. We executed a lot better in the second half. Anytime the shots are falling, that gives you a lot of momentum and a lot of energy.”
Senior forward Jenifer Rhodes had her third double-double of the year, netting 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Junior forward Malaya Johnson chipped in nine points and seven rebounds while also blocking six shots, a career-high. Smith feels Elon’s defensive efforts have been huge in its recent run.
“I’m just really proud of our defensive effort,” Smith said. “Understanding the defensive concepts. I think we’re doing a much better job [of that]. One-on-one, we can get a little bit better in terms of containing, but our insurance policy — our help and help the helper and our rotations in the defense — I feel like we’re a lot better defensively in terms of our rotations.”
The Phoenix improves to 17-5 overall and 9-1 in CAA play, sitting one game ahead of James Madison University for first place. The Phoenix travels to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for a 2 p.m. game Sunday.