ELON, N.C. – The thirteenth-seeded Elon University women's basketball will kick off its 2018 NCAA Tournament run with a first-round matchup against fourth-seeded NC State on Friday, March 16, in Raleigh, N.C.
The Phoenix, owner of a 25-7 record this season with back-to-back CAA Tournament titles, will take on a 24-8 Wolfpack team at 2:30 p.m. The winner will move on to face No. 5 Maryland or No. 12 Princeton in the second round on Sunday, March 18.
The Wolfpack is led by leading scorer Chelsea Nelson who averages a team-best 13.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Including Nelson, NC State has four players who average double-figure scoring totals – Kiara Nelson (12.0), Aislinn Konig (10.3) and Akela Maize (10.2)
Elon and NC State met earlier this year in Raleigh with the Wolfpack pulling out a 70-57 victory. However, with 1:27 to play, Elon trailed by just five points before NC State hit its free throws down the stretch to seal the decision.
Led by First Team All-CAA honoree Shay Burnett's 13.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game, the CAA Tournament Most Outstanding Performer has helped Elon to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments for the first time in program history. Ra'Shika White, the CAA Sixth Player of the Year and a Second Team All-CAA honoree has also averaged a big 12.8 points off the bench with six boards per contest while Malaya Johnson, another Second Team All-CAA honoree, averages 12.0 point and 6.0 rebounds per outing. With back-to-back 25-win seasons, it marks the third time in program history Elon has won at least 25 games in a row since it reached at least 25 in 1979-80, 1980-81 and 1981-82.
In this year's CAA Tournament, the Phoenix defeated sixth-seeded William & Mary 67-50 in the quarterfinals, topped second-seeded James Madison 76-53 in the semifinals and top-seeded tournament host Drexel 57-45 in the title game on Saturday, March 10. Elon has now won six consecutive CAA Tournament games and has won each by a margin of at least 12 points. Winning the tournament as the No. 3 seed, the Phoenix became the second team not seeded No. 1 or No. 2 in CAA Tournament history to win the title by joining the 1992 Old Dominion squad that was seeded No. 3.
Entering the Big Dance, Elon is on a 13-game winning streak, which is the longest in its Division I history and tied for the seventh-longest active streak in the nation.