Freshman guard La'Tangela Atkinson led UNC with 16 points and a career-best 12 rebounds, her third double-double in eight collegiate games.
Also in double figures for the 13th-ranked Tar Heels (7-1) were sophomore forward Nikita Bell (12 points), senior guard Coretta Brown (10 points) and junior center Candace Sutton (10 points). Sutton added 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season as UNC outrebounded the visitors 56-22.
Sophomore guard Jessica Williams led Elon (2-4) with 16 points, all in the second half. She was five-for-nine from three-point range and hit one of her two free throw attempts. Three other players added eight points each, including junior forward Ivey Ghee, who led the Phoenix with five rebounds.
The teams combined for 57 turnovers, 37 of them in the first half. Carolina's 26 turnovers were a season high.
"I thought it was pretty obvious we hadn't played in a while," UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "I don't want to make any excuses, though. Elon was hard to shake and has some good shooters."
The Tar Heels opened with a 6-0 run as Elon turned the ball over without getting off a shot on its first four possessions. Ghee hit the team's first basket with 16:58 to play in the half, then Sutton and Atkinson each scored four points on an 8-0 UNC run that put UNC up 14-2. After Elon fought back within seven, Carolina pushed the margin into double digits again and kept it there for the rest of the game.
Both teams shot poorly in the first half, UNC at 38.6 percent and Elon at 26.1. The Tar Heels picked that up to 60 percent in the second half and finished at 46.4 for the game. Elon shot 34.6.
"I think we were taken aback by their athleticism at first and just stood around," Elon coach Brenda Paul said. "They're just a tremendous team. I think we could have done some things better, but give credit where credit is due."
Elon faces another Atlantic Coast Conference team on Wednesday night, tipping off at NC State at 7 p.m.
UNC's next game is against No. 18 South Carolina on Friday in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The game will be played at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center following a matchup between Coastal Carolina and UNC Wilmington. The Tar Heels and Gamecocks will tip off at approximately 9 p.m.
"We've got to get ready for South Carolina now,' Hatchell said. "We'll have to take a lot better care of the ball in that game. We're playing hard, we've just got to cut down on the mistakes. "