• The Panthers are 5-0 at home this season and have won 10 straight inside the Millis Center. The program’s record is 19 games (January 2, 2005 – February 11, 2006).
• Redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson pulled down a season-best 16 rebounds while scoring 11 points for her second double-double of the year. She also had five blocks, six assists and three steals.
• Sophomore Kaylah Keys led the way in scoring for the sixth time in eight games with 18 points on the strength of four 3-pointers.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team battled back and forth with visiting Presbyterian College, but used an 11-0 run late in the second half to earn a 54-49 win inside the Millis Center.
The Panthers (5-3, 2-0 Big South) led throughout the second half before the Blue Hose (4-4, 1-1 Big South) pulled ahead 40-39 with nine minutes remaining. But that’s when HPU went on its run, featuring seven points from redshirt-senior Lindsay Puckett, to build a 50-40 lead and hold on for a 54-49 victory.
“I’m really proud of our kids’ composure,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said of her team’s ability to pull out a clutch conference win. “Nobody blows Presbyterian out. It’s usually within eight points and comes down to a couple possessions to win the game late.”
Puckett was one of three Panthers in double figures with 11 points while chipping in five rebounds, four steals and three assists. Redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points and a season-best 16 rebounds to go with her six assists, five blocks and three steals. Sophomore Kaylah Keys led the way offensively with 18 points, including four 3-pointers. Keys has led the team in scoring in six of the eight games and has hit at least three 3-pointers in the last six outings.
Sophomore Teddy Vincent scored six points off the bench on 2-of-6 shooting, but she made those two count. The reserve hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first half and then another with 7:47 remaining to give HPU the lead for good.
The Purple & White struggled from the floor shooting just 36 percent for the game, but held the Blue Hose to only 30 percent. The teams finished even in rebounding (44 apiece), while HPU forced 18 turnovers to move to 4-0 when it forces at least 17 turnovers.
Keys got started early drilling a 3-pointer on the team’s first possession. The pace slowed from there as neither team scored for nearly three minutes. The Blue Hose equaled the score with a triple of its own, but HPU stormed back scoring seven points in the next 40 seconds to take a 10-3 lead into the first media timeout.
However, the Purple & White couldn’t keep up its pace as the team missed its next 11 shots and remained stuck at 10 points for over six minutes. Presbyterian took advantage of HPU’s struggles and grabbed an 11-10 lead with 10 minutes left in the half. Keys broke the drought with another 3-pointer as the teams went back and forth. High Point was able to extend its lead to seven at halftime when Vincent knocked down a buzzer-beating triple. The Panthers held the Blue Hose to just 22 percent from the floor and drilled five 3-pointers to build a 28-21 lead at the break.
After halftime, the Blue Hose came out and quickly cut the lead to four with a key 3-pointer by Janie Miles. The Panthers responded, though, as Puckett found a cutting Robertson to make it 32-26. Keys then stole the ensuing inbounds pass and hit a jumper to take the lead out to eight with 16 minutes to play. Presbyterian, however, didn’t go away and fought its way back into the lead (40-39) as Noelle Carter knocked down a jumper with just over nine minutes left in the contest.
Robertson hit a free throw on the next Panther possession to even the score at 40-40. That’s when Vincent stepped up again with a huge trifecta to spark the 11-0 surge that put HPU in control for good. Puckett’s seven points and a driving layup by senior Ashante Richard allowed HPU to hold on for the win.
The Panthers will be inside the Millis Center for the fourth straight game on Monday when they host UNCG at 7 p.m. After Monday, the Purple & White will not be back home until Jan. 5 against Campbell as the next four contests are on the road. HPU will get a 10-day layoff before they travel to VCU on Dec. 18 and No. 12 Nebraska on Dec. 20.