ELON, N.C. - Down by nine points with 13 minutes left to play in the second half, the Cougars completed the comeback and held on for a 57-55 victory over Elon in their first Southern Conference game Saturday at Alumni Gym.
Junior Afreyea Tolbert led the Cougars (3-4, 1-0) with 15 points and 14 rebounds and made a key steal with six second left to help preserve the win. Senior Megan Fischer made some key baskets down the stretch and finished with 14 points for the Cougars.
The Cougars controlled much of the first half against Elon (2-3, 0-1) and went into the break up 26-24.
Elon came out strong in the second half and at the first media timeout held a 36-32 advantage. The Phoenix would stretch the lead to nine at 43-34 on an Ali Ford three-pointer.
Fischer, who had all 14 of her points in the second half came down on the next possession and knocked down a three-pointer of her own to cut the lead to six with 12:54 to play in the game.
Over the next five minutes the Cougars used a 10-3 run to take back the lead at 47-46 on a three-pointer by Fischer. A few minutes later the Cougars got a rebound and ran the break as Fischer converted a layup to push the Cougars lead to six at 55-49.
The Phoenix would not go down without a fight as they tied the game at 55 with 1:21 remaining.
On the next possession Tolbert was fouled and made one-of-two free-throws to put the Cougars up 56-55.
Elon would call a timeout with nine seconds left and still down 56-55.
The Phoenix inbounded the ball and started running the floor. As Kelsey Harris drove to the basket, Tolbert stepped in and got the steal and was fouled with six seconds left.
The Cougars went up 57-55 and held on the last Elon possession to secure the victory.
Junior point guard Jillian Brown had a career-high seven steals and the Cougars controlled the boards with a 53-39 edge on Elon. CofC had 21 offensive rebounds and 16 second chance points.
Up next the Cougars play at UNCG Monday at 7:00 p.m.