Entering Sunday’s contest against the Northeastern University Huskies, it had been 49 days since the Elon University women’s basketball team’s last win. After a 69-51 loss to the Huskies, the wait for the team’s fifth victory of the season will continue. 

Two free throws by freshman guard Raven Preston gave the Phoenix a 6-5 lead at the 7:33 mark of the opening quarter. It was the last time Elon led the rest of the game. From that point on, Northeastern outscored Elon 40-15 in the first half to take a 19-point lead into the locker room. 

Northeastern’s JaMiya Braxton poured in 19 points in the opening half, almost out-scoringElon in the first two quarters by herself. Head coach Charlotte Smith said she was disappointed with Elon’s defensive execution in the first half. 

“We knew that [Braxton] was a really good shooter and we allowed her to get too many three point shots off, pretty much uncontested,” Smith said. “We have to lock in on personnel and play with a greater sense of urgency defensively.” 

Elon’s offensive struggles also continued in the first half, as the Phoenix shot just 3-15 from the field in the second quarter, a frame in which Northeastern outscored them 21-6. Elon shot below 40% from the field in all four quarters. 

“We’ve got to get easy scores. A lot of teams get easy scores off of us in transition, so we have to find a way to get easy scores in transition and we’ve got to get a better flow in our offense,” Smith said. “And we’ve got to knock down shots. I mean, at the end of the day, you have to knock down shots.”

Despite trailing by 19 at halftime, the team’s largest halftime deficit since trailing North Carolina State University by 20 on Nov. 10, the Phoenix continued to battle in the second half. Elon’s offensive struggles continued, as the team shot just 25% from the field, but the team outscored the Huskies 11-6 to cut into the lead. 

Preston said Elon did not play with enough intensity in the first half but was pleased with how the team responded in the second half. 

“We played a lot harder than we had played and displayed a bigger level of toughness than we had displayed earlier,” Preston said. 

The Phoenix pulled to within 15 in the fourth quarter but got no closer, as the Huskies managed their lead comfortably in the closing stages and closed out an 18-point win. 

One of the bright spots in the second half for Elon was the play of senior guard Bria Harmon, who delivered three steals and five points in the final quarter. Harmon, who finished with seven points and four steals, got the nod in the starting lineup for the second straight game after coming off the bench in Elon’s first 15 contests. 

“She helps us to play with pace and that's what we want to do offensively is play with a little bit more pace,” Smith said. 

Preston’s 13 points and 14 rebounds were both team-highs, as she delivered the fourth double-double of her freshman campaign, setting the record for most double-doubles by a freshman since Smith became Elon’s head coach in 2011. The record was previously held by Shay Burnett ‘18, who was in attendance today for the team’s alumni weekend. Like Preston, Burnett also wore the jersey number five. 

Now 4-13 overall and 0-6 in Colonial Athletic Association games, Elon travels to face the University of North Carolina-Wilmington on Jan. 20 before returning home Jan. 22 for a game against Stony Brook. As Elon’s search for its first conference win continues, Smith said the team needs to play within itself to break through and snap its 11-game losing streak.

“You try to pull the positives and continue to reiterate your identity,” Smith said. “There will be times when, especially when you have a young team, where you know what your identity is, but you don't always see it.”