By Steve Roth
Elon’s women’s basketball team was hungry for more after they were eliminated from the Southern Conference tournament.
This week, they accepted an invite to play in the Women’s Basketball Invitational. They entered as the third seed in the East region of the 16-team bracket. They began play on Thursday as they hosted the sixth seed, the University of South Carolina Upstate Spartans.
The Phoenix would dominate the Spartans from beginning to end. Sophomore Ali Ford hit her first three shots, all of which were three-pointers. Kelsey Evans helped the Phoenix in the rebounds category as she finishes with a team-high 11. She also finished with 11 points. Aiesha Harper finished with seven steals and 14 points and was one of five Elon players to score in double-digits.
The Phoenix led at the half, 51-28 and wouldn’t look back. Ali Ford continued her dominance and finished the game with a career-high 35 points. The Phoenix dumped the Spartans by a final score of 103-72. Those 103 points scored by Elon are the most they have gotten since November 20, 2009.
After the game, coach Barefoot said, “I’m so proud of the way we played tonight and our fans were amazing and helped us beat a very good team.”
With the win, the Phoenix move on to play the second seeded University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers. The game will be played at home on Sunday at 1:00 PM.
The Women were home once again on Sunday to face the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the WBI quarterfinals.
Ali Ford, who finished with a career-high 35 points in the last contest, was held to just 19 points in this one, including a 3-13 effort from the three-point line. Kelsey Evans finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
The game was much closer than Thursday’s score, with the Phoenix trailing by four at the half.
Lisa Archie came down with nine rebounds and two blocks in her 13 minutes of play off the bench. The game fell out of reach in the last five minutes of play as Elon could not make a strong comeback. The Phoenix lost and the final score was 59 to 50.
“This has been such a remarkable season for us and I am happy for our seniors who have helped turn this program around,” Head Coach Karen Barefoot said after the game. “We will continue our quest to make this program the best it can be.”
Elon finished its season with 20 wins, the most for the team in the Division 1 era.
Seniors Julie Taylor, Jess Luedtke and Gabby Oloye have completed their four years of play for the Phoenix. Taylor played in every single game of her career, 127 in total. She walks away with 498 career points, 181 rebounds, and 114 assists.