Site: Hampton, Va. (Hampton University Convocation Center)
Score: High Point 81, Hampton 77
Records: HPU: 8-10 (6-3 Big South), HU: 10-8 (6-3 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Tuesday, Jan. 28 — at Gardner-Webb (Boiling Springs, N.C.), 7 p.m.
HAMPTON, Va. – Sophomore Skyler Curran had her third straight 20-point game and two others joined her in double-digits as the High Point University women’s basketball team took down second-place Hampton University 81-77 Saturday afternoon (Jan. 25) to extend its winning streak to four games. Redshirt sophomore Zaria Wright scored 18 for her third straight game with 15 points or more and senior Camryn Brown added 16 points to go along with six assists. The win moves the Panthers into a four-way tie for second place in the Big South with Hampton, Winthrop, and Radford all at 6-3 in conference play. HPU holds the head-to-head tiebreaker against Radford and now Hampton.
“That was a great road win for our team,” head coach Chelsea Banbury said after the win. “We came in here and I’m proud of how our girls fought against the team in second place. We made plays all game and enough plays down the stretch to come away with the win.”
Curran wasted little time getting to work in the game, scoring 16 points in the opening quarter. Hampton built an 8-4 lead before Curran took over and scored all of HPU’s points the rest of the quarter, including a 9-1 run to retake the lead after the 8-4 start.
“[Curran] was excellent,” Banbury said of the sophomore’s performance. “I’ve told her multiple times that she’s tough to guard and she showed that today, shooting the three well and getting to the basket. It’s almost a mental thing, when [teammates] see the ball go in they think they can score too, so her setting the tone in the first made us realize we can score and get to the basket.”
The Lady Pirates took the lead late, on a triple with 19 seconds left in the quarter, but Brown found Curran cutting inside for a buzzer-beating layup to give the Panthers a one-point, 20-19 lead after the first quarter.
Curran was held to only four points in the second quarter but the rest of the Panthers helped out, with six different Panthers scoring in the second. High Point led by eight with less than two minutes remaining in the half but Hampton battled back, going on a 10-2 run to close out the half, capped off with a triple at the buzzer to make it 40-all at the break.
Hampton entered the game leading the Big South in steals and sitting 35th in the country in steals per game. HPU took care of the ball well in the opening 20, only committing six turnovers while causing 10 from the Lady Pirates. The Purple and White picked up one more steal than HU in the first, taking the ball away three times to Hampton’s two, and blocking one more shot than the Lady Pirates, with both of the Panthers’ coming from Amaria McNear, her first multi-block game since swatting three against Radford on Jan. 6.
Both teams struggled to score in the second half, going scoreless for almost two minutes before McNear knocked down a triple. Wright hit from behind the arc on the next possession for her second three-pointer of the game to give the Panthers a six-point lead.
Hampton cut the lead to four before Curran and Brown combined for four-straight to push it back to eight. The Lady Pirates followed with a 6-1 run to make it a three-point game for the first time since McNear’s triple but a layup in the final minute by Curran gave HPU a five-point lead, 58-53, heading into the final quarter.
High Point came out firing from behind the arc in the fourth, taking six of its first seven shots in the quarter from three-point land. The Panthers connected on three of them, with one coming from Brown and two from Wright, giving her four on the day to match her career-best from the Longwood game.
The Lady Pirates cut the lead to one just over halfway through the quarter but HPU responded with seven straight, five from the hands of Brown. Redshirt freshman Jenson Edwards got to the lane for two and Brown followed up with a triple and a turn-around jumper off a beautiful ball fake to create separation. The run gave the Panthers an eight-point lead again, 74-66.
High Point’s defense held firm in the final minutes of the game, fending off Hampton’s attempts to tie it up. The closest the hosts got was cutting the lead to three points, 80-77, with 14 seconds left. Brown was fouled on an inbounds play and went to the line, sinking one of her two free throws in what proved to be the final point of the game, securing the victory for the Panthers.
The Panthers stay on the road for the midweek game this week, heading to Gardner-Webb on Tuesday (Jan. 28) to finish the first half of the conference schedule. HPU returns to the Millis Center on Saturday (Feb. 1) to host Winthrop and then will host the Lady Pirates again on Feb. 4