• Junior Shea Morgan helped HPU start fast scoring eight of her team-high 13 points in the first quarter.
• The Panthers led by 17, 42-25, with 5:41 left in the third, but couldn’t hold on against the hard-charging Flames.
• High Point will open its postseason on Friday as the No. 4 seed in the Big South Championship quarterfinals against No. 5 Presbyterian on Friday at 2:00 p.m.
LYNCHBURG, Va. – The High Point University women’s basketball team built a 17-point lead in the third quarter against Liberty on Saturday afternoon, but couldn’t hold on as the Flames stormed back for a 57-49 win in the Vines Center.
The Panthers (16-13, 10-8) stymied the Flames (21-9, 16-2) early on limiting the home team to just 17 first-half points. However, Liberty flipped the script on the Purple & White holding HPU to just 17 points in the second half while scoring 39 to come back for the victory.
“We had a few too many technical mishaps and gave up some crucial offensive rebounds in the second half, but overall I was proud of our team effort today,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “Today’s High Point team was one I am proud to coach because we were cohesive, hard-working and intentional. We’ll work out the kinks and be ready next week.”
Junior Shea Morgan started fast scoring eight first-quarter points en route to a team-high 13 points to go with six boards and three steals. Fellow junior Lindsey Edwards joined Morgan in double figures with 10 points to go with two steals.
After outshooting Liberty 46 percent to 25 percent in the first half, the Panthers hit just 6-of-24 after the break while the home team made 12-of-24 offerings. Overall, the Flames edged the Panthers shooting 36.5 percent (19-of-52) as HPU hit 17-of-48 (35.4 percent).
Neither team shot a high percentage beyond the arc as High Point shot 1-of-10 for the game and Liberty hit just 1-of-10 in the first half. However, the Flames used a 4-of-5 performance from three-point land in the third quarter to anchor their comeback.
Sophomore Camryn Brown dished out four of the team’s nine assists and scored eight points as Bockrath chipped in with seven points. Making her first career start, sophomore Olivia VanSlooten had two points and two boards while redshirt-junior Kennedy Currie posted six points and five rebounds off the bench.
Despite not shooting well from the floor, High Point hit 14-of-15 free throw attempts including a 3-of-3 performance by Hunter Fleming.
Morgan scored HPU’s first six points, as the Flames built a 10-6 edge with 5:10 on the clock. However, Bockrath and the rest of the Panthers heated up as the squad used a 26-7 run over the next 15 minutes to enter halftime up 15, 32-17. During that stretch, the High Point defense limited Liberty to 3-of-27 shooting.
Out of the break, HPU kept the momentum upping its lead to 17, 42-25, on a layup by Edwards at the 5:41 to mark of the third. However, the Flames’ defense responded holding the Panthers to just three made field goals the rest of the way going on a 32-7 run to run over the final 15 minutes to claim the 57-49 win.
The win clinched an outright title for Liberty as they will enter the Big South Championship as the No. 1 seed. For the Purple & White, the team will enter the tournament hosted by Liberty as the No. 4 seed and will play on Friday at 2:00 p.m. The opponent in Friday’s quarterfinal game will be Presbyterian who defeated Charleston Southern in the season finale to earn the No. 5 seed.