HPU WBB Races Past Elon, 87-71, Behind Second Half Run

• The Panthers out-scored Elon 37-17 over the final 13 minutes of the game
• Sophomore guard Kaylah Keys poured in 25 of her season-high 30 points in the second half
• Sophomore forward DeAnneisha Jackson posted her fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team out-scored Elon, 37-17, over the final 13 minutes to surge past the visiting Phoenix, 87-71, on Sunday inside the Millis Center.

High Point (3-3) trailed by four (54-50) with 12:55 to play, but raced back with an 11-2 run over the next two minutes to build a 61-54 advantage. Elon could not move closer than two (63-61) for the remainder of the game, as HPU scored 24 of the final 34 points to hand the Phoenix (4-1) their first loss of the season.

“We’re a transition team that likes to get out and run,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said of the team’s run in the second half. “We got a lot of baskets early in our possessions once we got out and ran.”

Sophomore guard Kaylah Keys exploded to score 25 of her 30 points in the second half, including a number of key baskets down the stretch. The Southaven, Miss., native made 6-of-12 3-point attempts and also dished out four assists in the game. She just missed out on her career high of 32 points while posting her third 20-point effort of the season.

Sophomore forward DeAnneisha Jackson grabbed 11 first half rebounds and finished with 17 points and 13 boards to post her fourth double-double in the first six games. Jackson tied her career high with the 13-rebound effort and added three blocks to pace the Panther defense.

Redshirt-senior forward Stacia Robertson notched 18 points (8-9 FT) and tied her career high with five steals in the game. Sophomore Maja Michalska added eight points, four rebounds and two steals and earned praise for her efforts from Hendrix.

“I thought Maja was huge,” Hendix said. “You look at her stats and you might not be impressed if you weren’t here, but if she didn’t do what she did tonight we don’t win.”

The Panthers shot 44.4 percent (28-63) on the afternoon, including an impressive 55.2 percent (16-29) effort in the second half. HPU connected on 6-of-10 (.600) 3-point attempts in the final half.

Elon held a +7 edge (47-40) on the glass and grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, but HPU countered the Phoenix size with a stifling defensive effort. The Panther defense made nine steals and forced 17 Phoenix turnovers, which led to a 24-15 edge for HPU in points off turnovers.

HPU led 12-9 five minutes into the first half before the Phoenix responded with a 10-2 run to take a 19-14 lead at the 12:23 mark of the first half. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Michalska and Keys knotted the score up at 22, but Elon answered back with eight-straight to build a 30-22 edge with 6:07 to play in the frame.

The back-and-forth action continued from there, as HPU blitzed back with 9-0 run to take the lead at 31-30 at the 3:41 mark of the half. With the score tied at 33-33, Elon closed the half on a 6-0 run to take a 39-33 advantage into the break.

Jackson led HPU with six points, two blocks and an impressive 11 rebounds in the half.

Elon remained in front by five (46-41) early in the second half before HPU used a 6-0 run to retake the lead (47-46) at the 14:42 mark of the half. Michalska banked home a three to extend the lead to 50-48, but Elon hit back-to-back triples to regain a four-point lead at 54-50.

From there, HPU used an 11-2 run to extend its lead to five (61-56) with 10:41 to play in the game. The back-end of the spurt included a triple and two free throws from Keys. From there, Elon cut the Panther lead to two (63-61), but could not get any closer, as HPU scored 24 of the final 34 points of the game to secure the victory.

The back-and-forth contest featured 8 ties and 12 lead changes, before HPU ultimately pulled away down the stretch.

HPU now opens Big South play Tuesday night when the Panthers welcome Longwood into the Millis Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.