BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Freshman Kaylah Keys scored a career-high 32 points to lead the High Point University women’s basketball team to a 81-77 win at Gardner-Webb on Saturday. The Runnin’ Bulldogs tied the game with 2:26 but the Panthers outscored them 9-5 down the stretch, including six points from Keys.
“This was an incredibly tough game against a quality team,” said head coach DeUnna Hendrix. “I am so proud that the team showed a lot of poise and never got rattled, no matter how hard Gardner-Webb pushed. Kaylah Keys and Teddy Vincent were huge for us, as they have been all season. The league is wide open and we are just one game out of first place with the win.”
Olivia Parker laid the ball in to tie the game 72-72 with 2:26 left on the clock. Vincent drained a three-pointer just three second later to give HPU back the lead. Keys followed with a jumper from the base line to give High Point a five-point advantage, 77-72, with 1:32 to go. GWU cut the lead to two, 77-75, on a Catrina Green jumper and the Bulldogs fouled Keys. She made both free throws and GWU scored another quick layup, this time by Kiera Curry. With HPU ahead, 79-77, and 16 seconds to play Key was fouled and once again made both free throws. Keys grabbed the final defensive rebound of the game to seal the 81-77 victory.
Keys’ 32-point performance is the fourth-most by a Panther in HPU’s Div. I era. She also had five assists and five rebounds. Freshman Teddy Vincent added 13 points and freshman DeAnneisha Jackson added 11 points and nine rebounds. Junior Latrice Phelps finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
High Point improves to 10-8 overall and 6-3 in Big South play, taking sole possession of third place in the league. Gardner-Webb drops to 10-8 on the season and 5-4 in league play.
Jasmine Dale finished with 23 points for GWU and Green added 19 points and seven rebounds.
Green scored three straight layups to give Gardner-Webb a 19-17 advantage with 9:01 on the clock in the first half. Keys answered with a layup to tie the game 19-19 and spark a 12-1 run for the Panthers. Redshirt-junior Stacia Robertson scored seven straight points for the Panthers, with two layups and three free throws, giving High Point a 26-20 lead. Keys extended the lead when she was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all three foul shots to make High Point’s lead 29-20 with 6:10 on the clock.
With 4:31 to play in the opening half, Keys gave HPU its biggest lead of the game, 33-23 when Keys went coast-to-coast for a layup. Vincent and Dale traded three pointers to end the half and High Point took a 42-36 lead to the locker room.
Dale’s fourth three pointer of the second half cut High Point’s lead to two, 66-64, with 7:40 left in the game. High Point’s lead was never more than five points for the rest of the game but the team never trailed. Gardner-Webb tied the game once, 72-72, but High Point held on for the 81-77 win.
There were 52 fouls in the game with High Point having more success at the free-throw line. HPU was 16-of-22 from the charity stripe while Gardner-Webb was just 19-of-38.
High Point will host Radford on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Millis Center.