PHILADELPHIA — Despite the team’s comeback effort, the Elon University women’s basketball team could not overcome a double-digit fourth quarter deficit against the College of Charleston Cougars in its quarterfinal game of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament. The Phoenix lost 70-59 to end its season.
Elon trailed 52-41 entering the fourth quarter, but quickly cut into Charleston’s lead, as a 14-4 Elon run pulled the Phoenix within two points before the media timeout. However, Elon did not get any closer in the closing minutes, as Charleston pulled away late to win and advance.
“This is not the finish that we wanted or anticipated, but very proud of my seniors,” head coach Charlotte Smith said. “I’m very proud of everything that they have poured into this Elon women’s basketball program.”
Both teams struggled offensively in the first half. Elon had 14 turnovers and College of Charleston went just 12-38 on field goal attempts. The two teams combined to make just four of 23 combined three-point shots.
Senior guard Brie Perpignan scored a team-high eight points in the opening half. She made a pair of jump shots late in the second quarter, including one from behind the three-point line, to get Elon within three points after trailing by as many as eight earlier in the half.
A deep, turnaround three-pointer from senior guard Kayla Liles with 12 seconds remaining in the second quarter appeared to have tied the game, but a review found she did not get the shot off before the shot clock expired, meaning the basket was overturned to make the halftime score 29-26 in favor of the Cougars.
Charleston opened the second half on a 16-5 run to open up its largest lead of the game. The Cougars shot 8-15 from the field in the third quarter compared to 4-14 for Elon.
A layup by senior center Evonna McGill with 1:35 remaining in the fourth quarter brought Elon back within one possession but Charleston responded with a layup of its own on the next possession. Elon did not score again, missing its final five shots.
“We talked about the game coming down to all of the blue collar work, and we didn’t do a lot of that blue collar work in the second half,” Smith said.
McGill finished with a game-high 19 points, 13 of which came in the second half. She went 9-15 from the field and also collected a team-high 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Perpignan had 13 points and Liles had 10, but the two combined for 10 turnovers. Elon finished the game with 20 turnovers compared to Charleston’s seven. Smith said Elon struggled with Charleston’s aggressive defense throughout the game.
“They had us rattled with their press,” Smith said. “Kudos to them, they were really good defensively.”
Perpignan and Liles are part of Elon’s eight player senior class that played their final college game today. Perpignan said she will look back fondly on her Elon career and has no regrets on her time with the team.
“There’s really no word to sum up what Elon has done for me,” Perpignan said. “Elon has just developed me into the person I am today, on and off the court. I’m forever grateful that I did have the opportunity to play here and especially playing under coach Smith.
“They did a great job today,” Smith said. “It’s very difficult to beat a team three times in a row.”
Elon’s season is over, as the Phoenix finish with a 17-12 overall record and a 9-10 record in CAA games. College of Charleston will face Drexel University in the semifinals tomorrow.