Elon University women’s basketball (2-3) outpaced Chowan University 88-74 for Elon’s first home win of the season Tuesday night. The Division II school made things difficult for Elon, refusing to go away for three quarters.
“I am happy we were able to pull the win out tonight,” said head coach Charlotte Smith. “We have a big stretch coming up with three games in five days and hopefully this was one of those games where we iron out the kinks because we haven’t played in a while.”
Elon and Chowan were locked together in a two-step the entire first quarter. Back and forth the two teams went, with neither opening up more than a five point lead, which Elon did by scoring the first five points of the game. Three lead changes and seven ties in the first ten minutes showed just how tight the first quarter was played.
Elon came out hot thanks to the shooting hand of freshman forward Tyja Traore. Traore scored the first seven points of the second quarter for the Phoenix. Encompassed in those seven was a nifty and-one play where she converted the free throw. Chowan sophomore guard Olivia Gaither countered with six early points of her own to keep the Hawks flying near-level with the Phoenix.
“We implemented Tyja in the lineup and she played significant minutes today and I feel like she did a really good job today,” Smith said of Traore. “It helped to boost my confidence in her seeing the aggressive mentality she had out there on the floor.”
Sophomore forward Jaylin Powell came alive in the third quarter. After going 0-4 from the field in the first half, Powell playing inspired. She scored 14 straight points for the Phoenix, including four straight three-pointers.
“I just came early, got shots up but especially like coach said us moving the ball, those points came off of assists so if we continue to pass the ball around we’ll find open players whether it be me, Emily [Maupin] or anybody else on the team as long as we get the ball moving and wear the other team out, that’s where we’re at our best,” Powell said.
Elon used Powell’s play to stay afloat, never conceding the lead but narrowly escaping some close situations and slipped out of the period with a seven point lead, 62-55. The guard finished with 20 points in 28 minutes of play.
Elon was finally able to get some breathing room in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to opening the quarter on a 10-3 run in the first two minutes and change of the last period of play.
“When we start offensively moving the ball and sharing the ball we get a rhythm offensively and our goal is to create shots for each other,” Smith said.
Usual suspects junior guard Lexi Mercer and sophomore forward Anna Popovic did not play because of a “coaches decision.” The tandem had played every game this season up until the matchup with Chowan.
Elon’s next game will be at home on Friday, Nov. 30 against Marist.