Richard’s Free Throws Send HPU WBB To 57-54 Victory

Posted by Press Release on February 18, 2015 at 3:12 am under College | Comments are off for this article

• Senior Ashante Richard went 4-of-4 at the line in the final 30 seconds to hand High Point the win.
• Redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson posted her 12th double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
• High Point has now won 14 straight in the series with UNC Asheville.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team got four free throws from senior Ashante Richard in the final 30 seconds to pull out a 57-54 win over UNC Asheville on Tuesday in the Millis Center.

The Panthers (16-11, 12-6) led for much of the second half before a late surge propelled by Shonese Jones gave the Bulldogs (7-19, 6-11) a 54-53 lead with 2:21 to play. However, the Purple & White defense held its visitors scoreless from there and got four crucial free throws from Richard to earn the victory.

“It’s great to be at home and get a win,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “We go through situations every day in practice and I always call on Ashante to hit free throws at the end of practice for games like tonight.”

It wasn’t senior night. That will come on Feb. 28 against Radford. But the veterans carried the Panthers on Tuesday. Redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson registered her 12th double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Senior Latrice Phelps added 12 points while redshirt-senior Lindsay Puckett chipped in with nine points and eight rebounds.

But it was Richard who came through with the game on the line. The guard didn’t make a field goal on the night, yet stepped to the line in a critical moment with confidence.

“We work on it at the end of practice when coach gives us a game scenario,” Richard said. “So I stepped to the line telling myself that we were going to win and that I was going to knock these free throws down.”

Richard finished with five points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Sophomore Kaylah Keys tallied a team-high 14 points and four steals on the evening.

The Panthers outrebounded the Bulldogs by one (40-39) while Asheville won the turnover battle 16-14. Despite committing more turnovers, HPU earned a +11 (22-11) margin in points of turnovers thanks to 11 steals.

Keys opened the scoring with a 3-pointer 10 seconds into the game. The Bulldogs were flustered and made it 7-7 on a layup by Jones with 17:16 on the clock. Puckett broke the tie with a triple from the right wing to put HPU on top at 10-7 with 17:16 left in the half.

The HPU lead, then, swelled to five points (14-9) when Phelps hit a baseline jumper at the 14:45 mark. But Asheville responded with a 6-0 run to take its first advantage of the contest (15-14) with 12:41 until the break. Robertson, though, put the Panthers right back on top with four straight points (18-15, 11:03).

The Purple & White split consecutive trips to the line before Jones converted a 4-point play to give Asheville a 21-20 lead (6:02). The teams went back and forth for the remainder of the half until Jeannie Buckner hit a jumper to send the Bulldogs to the locker room up 30-29.

Phelps converted a 3-point play a minute into the second half to give the Panthers the lead. The basket sparked a 10-0 that gave HPU a 39-30 advantage with 17:44 left to play. Tianna Knuckles slowed the run with a jumper, however Puckett answered with a 3-pointer on the other end to extend the lead to 10 points (42-32, 16:40).

Jones hit her fourth triple of the game to put Asheville back within seven points before a layup by Phelps and three free throws from Puckett made it 47-35 (14:40).

The Bulldogs stormed back from the 12-point deficit with a 10-0 run to pull within two (47-45, 10:16). Keys slowed the run with a floater to take HPU’s edge back out to four points at 49-45 with 9:48 remaining.

Neither team was able to score over the next five minutes before Keys hit another floater to make it 51-45 with 4:40 to play. Robertson extended the Panthers’ lead to eight with a put back at the 4:53 mark (53-45).

But Jones wouldn’t let the Bulldogs go quietly. The guard broke the team’s six-minute scoring drought with three consecutive 3-pointers to give Asheville a 54-53 lead with 2:21 to play.

However, the Panthers defense wouldn’t allow the Bulldogs to score another point as Richard hit four free throws to seal the 57-54 triumph. The win was the 14th straight for HPU in the series with UNC Asheville.

The team will take its final road trip of the season on Tuesday, Feb. 24 to Gardner-Webb. The Purple & White will then wrap up the regular season on senior day against Radford (Saturday, Feb. 28).

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