Prior to tonight’s game against the James Madison University Dukes, Elon University senior guard Brie Perpignan’s career high in a single game was 26 points. It took her just over 25 minutes to pass that mark, though the Phoenix ultimately lost, 71-56.
Perpignan finished the game with 34 points, with 22 coming in the first half. The other seven players that saw playing time for the Phoenix combined for just 22 points. Additionally, with 6:20 remaining in the second quarter, Perpignan became the 25th player to score 1,000 career points for Elon’s women’s basketball team after hitting a contested driving layup.
“I’m incredibly happy for her,” head coach Charlotte Smith said. “She did a lot of work in the offseason to get better. She’s hungry. She’ll run through a wall for you. She’s a warrior and she is one of the best players in this league.”
Elon held a 13-9 lead halfway through the first quarter, but James Madison finished on a 16-4 to grab the lead. Perpignan had 13 points in the first and went 6-6 from the field. While Elon shot 57% from the field as a team in the opening two quarters, James Madison took a 42-30 lead to halftime.
The Phoenix fell behind by 18 points early in the third quarter but battled back with Perpignan again leading the charge. Her nine points in the frame helped trim the deficit to nine headed to the fourth.
“She’s very good in transition offense of pushing tempo and finding holes,” Smith said. “She found a lot of good stuff within the offenses that we run for her.”
After a scorching first three quarters, Perpignan cooled down, shooting just 1-6 in the fourth. As a team, the Phoenix went just 3-17 from the field in the final 10 minutes.
Despite the loss, Smith said she was proud of the way her team fought back after falling behind by so much.
“We made a really big push in the second half to try to eliminate the deficit,” Smith said. “It just felt like every time we pushed to get back, we’d miss a loose ball here and there and just couldn’t get our hands on a rebound
Rebounding again proved problematic for the Phoenix, as the Dukes won the rebounding margin 45-25, including 23 offensive boards.
“We just have to do a better job on the boards,” Smith said. “It’s really that simple. You cannot get outrebounded by 20 plus rebounds and give yourself a chance to be successful.”
Elon has now lost three consecutive Colonial Athletic Association games and has a 2-6 conference record. The team finishes its four game homestand on Sunday against Towson, with tipoff scheduled for 2 p.m.