The Elon University women’s basketball team took down another Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opponent Friday night in Alumni Gym, defeating Northeastern University 70-58 for its 15 win in its last 16 games and extending its win streak to six.
The nip and tuck first half saw a total of eight lead changes and six ties. Elon was able to take an early lead thanks to junior center Malaya Johnson, who registered eight points to go along with two rebounds and a block in the first quarter alone. Head coach Charlotte Smith partly attributed the tight first quarter to the lack energy that her team was able to produce.
“From the start of the game we didn’t have enough energy,” Smith said. “That starts from one through five on the floor, the bench, fans, everybody, coaches, you know, trying to give us that energy to get off to a great start. It was kinda really solemn and flat.”
The second quarter saw the Phoenix begin to pull away, and Smith’s women entered the half with a seven point advantage over Northeastern. At the end of the third quarter, freshman guard Madison Wilder drained a buzzer-beating three pointer that pushed Elon’s lead to six and developed enough momentum for the Phoenix to run away with yet another CAA victory.
After the game, despite her impressive offensive outing, Johnson reflected on her team’s resilience on the defensive end, which generated 11 blocks and five steals en route to 10 forced turnovers.
“We just try to take pride in our defense and work hard, knowing that if we’re not getting stops, things aren’t going to go our way," Johnson said. "So when we’re not knocking down the shots we’d like to on the other end, it’s nice to know we can come down and defend and get the ball back so we can have another round on offense.”
This victory sees Elon preserve the CAA’s top spot in midst of an impressive win streak and recent run, and also saw the Phoenix commit the least amount of turnovers (seven) in Coach Smith's time in charge. Following the final whistle, coach Smith expressed her desire for the team to avoid comfort and remain hungry.
“My talk right now with the team is just not becoming complacent,” Smith said. “From top to bottom in this league, it doesn’t matter what your standings are, anybody can come in any night and knock off a team -- so we just have to stay on our game and be consistent in the things that we’re doing well.”
The Phoenix will look to improve both its season record of 19-5 and CAA record of 11-1 on Sunday, February 12th at 3:00 p.m. in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where it will take on conference rivals James Madison University.