By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Suddenly in a critical situation, Elon’s women’s basketball team found the right solution Sunday night.
“Wide open on the wing,” forward Ajia James said. “We executed the play well.”
That’s where James took a shot that beat High Point 60-57 at Schar Center.
It was the first time the Phoenix was in a tight game, with coach Charlotte Smith endorsing her team’s fearlessness.
“It was nerve-wracking for me,” Smith said. “I was very uptight, but I tried to hide it.”
James, a transfer from Saint Peter’s in her second season with the Phoenix, hit the 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds to play, breaking a tie. Bria Harmon’s pass set up the winning shot.
Elon (1-2) opened the season with road losses at Wake Forest and No. 10 North Carolina State. Smith, though, recognized encouraging stretches in those games, saying she could have compiled video clips to highlight successful stretches.
In the home opener, Elon led by 12 after the first quarter and trailed going to the fourth quarter. The Phoenix withstood Evonna McGill (11 points) and Lenaejha Evans (19 points) fouling out and a pass that sailed out of bounds.
“You have to have a short memory,” Smith said of moving on.
In clutch time, James drained a tying 3 with 1:22 to play. Yet because of such new personnel, the Phoenix hadn’t worked on many late-game situations.
“A lot of this stuff was kind of off the cuff,” Smith said. “So that’s why I’m proud of them executing.”
James finished with 12 points – coming on four 3s.
The series with High Point is tied 39-39. Elon has home games against UNC Greensboro at 2 p.m. Saturday and vs. Old Dominion at 2 p.m. next Wednesday.
Elon men lose two
At Asheville, Elon lost games to East Tennessee State (77-64 on Friday) and Harvard (92-77 on Sunday) in the Asheville Championship.
John Bowen scored 17 points vs. East Tennessee State. Sean Halloran and Torrence Watson had 14 points each in the Harvard game. JaDun Michael, a swingman out of The Burlington School, posted nine and seven points.
The Phoenix (1-2) faces North Dakota at 7 p.m. Thursday at Schar Center before Saturday’s 1 p.m. tip-off at North Carolina State.