HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team fought back from an early deficit but ultimately fell at Gardner-Webb 65-57 on Thursday in Big South Conference play. Junior Cheyenne Parker led the Panthers with 26 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.
“We played better in the second half but we need to come out with a lot more energy and focus than we have the last few games,” said head coach DeUnna Hendrix. “The league is incredibly tight and every game is crucial. I hope the team learns from tonight and can find the focus we need for the final three games of the regular season.”
Junior Tayler Tremblay chipped in 10 points and redshirt-sophomore Stacia Robertson added six points and seven rebounds.
Lana Doran led Gardner-Webb with 15 points and Jessica Heilig had 12 points and eight rebounds.
With the loss HPU falls to 15-11 overall and 9-6 in Big South play. Gardner-Webb improves to 12-14 for the season and 5-10 in the league.
High Point trailed by eight at halftime, cutting the Bulldogs’ lead to five twice in the second half before falling, 65-57.
Parker was fouled on HPU’s first possession and she made both free throws to give the Panthers an early lead. With 14:49 to go in the opening half Robertson found Lindsay Puckett cutting to the basket for an easy layup to tie the game 7-7. The Runnin’ Bulldogs went on an 11-4 run, beginning and ending with good free throws. Olivia Parker scored to start the run and Alicia Quinn was at the line at the end.
Kendra Wallace hit a long two-pointer with 8:29 on the clock, to make it a 18-14 GWU lead. The Panthers were held without a field goal until the 2:39 mark when Parker made a layup. Gardner-Webb had opened up a 30-19 lead. High Point closed the lead to eight to end the half. Jazmin Cromartie made two free throws and Tremblay was 2-for-2 at the line and went coast-to-coast for layup. GWU led 33-25 at the break.
Lexi Patterson hit a three pointer to make it a 51-41 game with 9:01 to play. Robertson grabbed a rebound and sent the ball out to Patterson for a wide-open basket. On GWU’s next possession Parker blocked Olivia Parker’s shot and went the length of the floor for layup. Catrina Green fouled Parker and on the made basket and Parker hit the free throw to make the score 51-44. Robertson hit a jumper in the paint to get HPU within five, 51-46.
Over the next five minutes Gardner-Webb pushed the lead back to double digits, capping an 11-4 run with a jumper by Candace Brown that made it a 62-50 game with 2:58 to play.
With 1:40 on the clock Parker made a layup and Wallace followed with a three pointer, getting HPU within seven, 62-55. Parker went to the line and made two free throws to get HPU within five for the second time in the half. Gardner-Webb made free throws in the final 30 seconds to secure the win.
Parker went 10-for-13 from the free throw line on her way to a 26-point performance. Puckett finished with four points, five rebounds and three steals.
High Point will play its final road game of the regular season on Saturday at Presbyterian College. It will be the only meeting between HPU and the Blue Hose this season. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 beginning at 5 p.m.