PHILADELPHIA – The Elon University women's basketball team is going dancing for the second straight year.
The No. 3-seeded Elon team knocked off No. 1 Drexel University in the title game of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament 57-45 to claim its second CAA title in a row.
“Just incredibly proud to be here in this moment to repeat as CAA conference champions,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith.” A lot of that credit goes to our seniors. They did a great job leading us throughout this tournament. We played some of our best basketball in this tournament, so we’re just excited to have another opportunity to compete in the NCAA and the big dance.”
After getting the first basket 11 seconds into the game, senior guard Shaylen Burnett never looked back. By the end of the first quarter, she had eight of Elon’s 18 points. She finished the game with 13. Senior center Malaya Johnson led the Phoenix with 14 points and freshman guard Saadia Munford added 13.
It was a game of runs, as the Phoenix was able to fight off a fourth-quarter, 14-2 charge from the Dragons, where the Phoenix saw its 18-point lead dwindle to six at one point. Drexel missed both three-point chances they had and turned the ball over three times, allowing Elon to go on a 6-0 run to end the game and cut down the nets once again.
“We knew we had to keep the composure,” Burnett said. “We were just slowing the game down, running our plays, executing on both the offensive and defensive end and it worked out well for us.”
“I was pleased with the two looks that we got,” said Drexel head coach Denise Dillion. “It was a two-possession game. We got two looks that didn’t fall and ended up giving them the shot down on the other end that gave them the cushion. We took 18 more shots than they did today, we fought for offensive rebounds – but they shot lights out and we did not.”
Elon’s offense came up clutch in big moments throughout the 40 minutes. Drexel switched to a full-court press in the second half, putting pressure on the Phoenix who didn’t waiver.
“When they put on the press, I thought we had been a little passive in terms of once we got it across half court,” Smith said. “We wanted to make them pay and we got a couple good opportunities against the press that gave us a little bit of a cushion to make us comfortable.”
Elon went on a 9-0 run early in the third quarter, followed by senior guard Meme Garner knocking down a huge three in front of her own bench to give Elon the padding it would need during that fourth quarter to cut the nets down and make capture another CAA title.
The Phoenix awaits the NCAA selection show to determine when and where its next game will be played. That will take place at 7 p.m. March 12 on ESPN.