CONWAY, S.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team beat No. 8 Asheville, 79-69, in the quarterfinals of the Big South Conference Tournament. The Panthers will face either No. 4 Campbell or No. 5 Gardner-Webb in the semifinals at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Kaylah Keys led all scorers with 23 points and Stacia Robertson posted her eighth double-double of the season.
“I am really proud of the team’s effort today,” said head coach DeUnna Hendrix. “We obviously wanted to redeem ourselves from last year’s quarterfinal and we definitely did that. During the tournament every game is going to be a battle and I am glad we stayed poised and pulled out the win. We got contributions from the entire team but Stacia Robertson really played outstanding basketball in the second half.”
Keys scored 19 points in the first half to break HPU’s single-season scoring record. She hit two free throws at the end of the half to give her 538 points for the season, breaking Cheyenne Parker’s record of 536 set last season. Keys finished with 23 points, five rebounds and four steals.
Robertson scored 18 points with 10 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season and her second against Asheville this year. Lindsay Puckett added 12 points and Ashante Richard chipped in nine points, six rebounds and five assists.
High Point improves to 21-9 on the season, breaking the Div. I single-season record for wins. Asheville ends the season with an 11-20 overall record.
It was a slow start to the game with Asheville taking a 6-2 lead through the first five minutes. After the first media timeout Keys scored six straight points to give HPU an 8-6 lead they held for the rest of the half. Robertson capped a 7-0 run with a layup to push High Point’s lead to 31-15 with 6:19 remaining in the half. Asheville answered with its own seven-point run to cut HPU’s lead to 31-22 with 5:00 remaining. Keys pulled up for a jumper to snap Asheville’s streak and High Point finished the half on a 16-4 run to take a 48-29 lead to the locker room. Keys made two free throws at the end half to break HPU’s single-season scoring record and finish the half with 19 points.
The Panthers pushed the lead to 20 points, 55-35, on back-to-back layups by Stacia Robertson with 15:44 on the clock. Asheville fought back in the game with a 24-10 run to make it a single-digit lead, 65-59, with 6:45 to play. It was the first time High Point’s lead had been down to less than 10 points since 5:00 on the clock in the first half. Robertson scored back-to-back layups for the Panthers to push the lead back to 10 points with 6:24 to play and it swung momentum back to the Panthers. High Point held on for the 79-69 win.
Shonese Jones led Asheville with 14 points and Tianna Knuckles added 12 points. Brittany Gwyn finished with five points and 10 rebounds.
High Point will face either No. 4 Campbell or No. 5 Gardner-Webb in the semifinals on Saturday at 6 p.m. The Panthers swept both teams in the regular season.