All Five HPU WBB Starters Hit Double Digits in Historic Victory at Millis

Posted by Press Release on December 8, 2020 at 8:40 am under College | Comments are off for this article

Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: High Point 87, North Carolina Central 65
Records: HPU 1-2 (0-0 Big South), NC Central 1-2 (0-0 MEAC),
Next HPU Event: Wednesday, December 9 — vs. North Carolina Wesleyan (Millis Center, High Point, N.C.) 6 p.m.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – For the first time since the 2013-14 season, all five Panther starters scored in double-digits as the High Point University women’s basketball team picked up its first win of the 2020-21 campaign with an 87-65 victory over North Carolina Central University Monday night (Dec. 7).

The win was a milestone victory for the program as well, as it was High Point’s 200th Division I victory in the Millis Center since joining D1 prior to the 1999-2000 season.

“We definitely needed this one. I’m happy we were able to come away on top,” head coach Chelsea Banbury said after her team’s first win of the season. “Besides how we started the game, I’m pretty proud of how we gained our composure and continued to chip away at their lead and ended up taking it and extending our lead. We were a little frustrated at first and did some crazy stuff with the ball but we settled down and started making easy passes and were able to attack.”

The Panthers got the job done in a way that was unconventional for the way Banbury’s team has played over the past year – at the free-throw line. HPU attempted 40 shots from the line in the game, tied for the second-most in program history and most since the Purple and White’s record of 46 from the 2011-12 season.

High Point converted on 30 of those free-throw attempts, four shy of matching the team record. Nationally, HPU’s 30 makes from the stripe are good for the sixth-most in all of Division I this year. Perhaps more impressive than the 30 made free throws is the fact that the Panthers didn’t even attempt a single free throw in the first quarter, making all 30 over the final three and going 12-14 and 14-16 in the second and fourth quarters, respectively.

“I’m amazed we had 30 points from the free-throw line. We attacked and we wanted to attack them, so that definitely helped,” Banbury continued about the team’s stellar day from the line. “We talked after the last game about how we only shot 10 free throws. I talked about how we wanted to attack the basket more and we did that today.”

High Point had to come from behind in the game after a slow start saw the Panthers down by as much as 12 in the first quarter. HPU trailed by only one, 7-6, a little less than four minutes into the game but the visitors went on a 17-6 run to take a 24-12 lead with a minute left in the opening quarter. The run was halted by a triple from Skyler Curran, part of her eight-point performance in the quarter and 16 on the night.

The turnover bug bit the Panthers hard in the first, with nine of the team’s 18 giveaways in the game coming in the first 10 minutes. HPU turned the ball over four more times in the second quarter, but stormed back on the scoreboard, winning the quarter 30-13 to take a 45-37 lead into the break.

HPU started the second with seven straight to pull within a basket before the Eagles responded to regrow their lead. Down 31-26 with 6:20 showing on the clock, High Point rallied with a 15-3 run to take the lead, which it didn’t give up the rest of the way. Redshirt sophomore Jenson Edwards scored nine of the 15 points in the run and finished with 12 in the quarter. Four of those nine during the run came from the foul stripe, with Curran, senior Chyna McMichel, and freshman LaImani Simmons also contributing on the run.

Edwards and Curran led the team in points and rebounding at the break, respectively, but were only one stat away from each other in both categories. Edwards had the most points with 12 and had six rebounds while Curran had 11 points to go with her team-best seven rebounds. All of High Point’s other three starters each had at least six points at halftime, with junior Jordan Edwards and freshman Claire Wyatt in her first collegiate start each with seven, while McMichel added six.

All five starters hit the double-digit mark in the third quarter when Wyatt connected on a triple from the corner with just over a minute remaining. That marked the first time since Feb. 22, 2014, in an 82-75 victory over UNC Asheville that all five starters for the Purple and White were in double figures. Wyatt’s three-pointer kicked off a 7-2 run for the Panthers to end the quarter, capped off by a buzzer-beating mid-range jumper from Jordan Edwards as time ran out.

“Having all five starters score in double figures is huge for us,” said Banbury of the team’s scoring distribution. “If we can spread out the scoring, I think we become a much tougher team to guard so I was happy with everybody contributing.”

Jenson Edwards continued her strong performance from the first half into the third quarter, scoring six more points and grabbing four rebounds to secure her first double-double of the season and third of her career. She ended her day with a total of 18 points and 10 rebounds, finishing second on the team in scoring and leading the team on the glass.

While Jenson dominated the second quarter, it was the other Edwards who took control of the fourth for HPU, with Jordan Edwards scoring 11 of her team-high 23 points in the final frame, six of which came at the stripe after she was fouled four times.

The Panthers continued their 7-3 run over the quarter break and opened with the first eight points of the fourth to extend the run to 15-3. High Point’s defense clamped down in the beginning of the quarter as it took almost five minutes before NC Central made a field goal in the quarter, by which time High Point had opened a 27-point lead. The lead grew to as many as 29 when Jordan Edwards knocked home a pair of free throws with just over three minutes remaining before exiting the game for the final time, en route to an 87-65 victory for the Panthers.

It’s a quick turnaround for High Point as the Purple and White are right back in action on Wednesday night (Dec. 9) at the Millis Center when Division III North Carolina Wesleyan comes to town for a 6 p.m. tip.

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