• Redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson led the way with 14 points and 14 rebounds. It was her third straight game with a double-double.
• Senior Latrice Phelps posted 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting while pulling down six rebounds.
• The Panthers will continue their road trip with a game at No. 12 Nebraska on Saturday at 4 p.m.
RICHMOND, Va. – The High Point University women’s basketball team went on the road to VCU and dropped an 81-59 contest inside the Siegel Center Thursday afternoon.
The Panthers (6-4) trailed by just three points after redshirt-senior Lindsay Puckett knocked down a 3-pointer with 11:30 to play. But the Rams (6-4) finished the game on a 29-10 run to pull away for the win.
“We just didn’t come focused and we weren’t ready,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said about the team’s performance. “I don’t know what it is about playing on the road right now, but we have to do better.”
The Panthers were led once again by redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson. The forward posted her third straight double-double and led the team with 14 points and 14 rebounds to go with three assists, three steals and two blocks. Senior Latrice Phelps chipped in with 15 points and six rebounds.
“Latrice and Stacia have been pretty consistent all year,” Hendrix said. “Latrice is going to give you everything that she has all the time and Stacia is going to do whatever it takes to win games.”
Redshirt-senior Lindsay Puckett scored 12 points and knocked down two key 3-pointers in the second half. Freshman Kat Harris led the HPU reserves with five points while sophomore Kaylah Keys scored six points and had four assists while running the point.
The Rams outrebounded the Panthers 48-37 and hit 30 of their 35 free throws (86 percent) while HPU went 8-of-14 (57 percent) from the line. The Purple & White struggled at times with the aggressive VCU defense and had 23 turnovers. The Panthers shot 3-of-19 (16 percent) from beyond the arc.
Robertson carried the Panthers early scoring eight of the their first nine points as HPU took a 9-7 lead four minutes into the game. The Rams went on a 7-0 run to build a five-point lead, but a put back by Phelps and a corner 3-pointer by senior Katie Vincent tied the game at 14-14 with 12 minutes left in the half. The teams matched each other basket-for-basket until VCU got a couple 3-pointers from Isis Thorpe to spark an 11-0 run that gave the Rams a 29-18 lead with five minutes until the break.
Keys got the Panthers rolling again with a jumper at the 4:15 mark to make it 29-20. Robertson, then hit a layup on a beautiful assist by Phelps to make it 29-22 with 3:39 remaining. Another Keys jumper was followed up by a 3-point play by Kat Harris to cut the lead to two (29-27 1:40) and cap off HPU’s 9-0 run. However, VCU was once again able to get a little breathing room and took a 37-29 lead into the half. The Panthers shot a better percentage (39 to 33) in the first half, but were 6-of-12 from the line and lost the rebounding battle, 27-20.
As they did in the first half, Phelps and Robertson got HPU started scoring eight of the team’s first 10 points in the second half to cut the VCU lead to four (43-39, 15:57). The seniors continued to lead the way as Puckett knocked down a big 3-pointer to cut the lead to one (43-42, 15:52). The Panthers continued to keep the game close as Puckett hit another 3-pointer to make it 52-49 with 11:30 to play. However, HPU wouldn’t get any closer as the Rams closed the game on a 29-10 run to take an 81-59 win
The Panthers will continue their pre-Christmas road trip with a visit to Lincoln, Neb. on Saturday at 4 p.m. to take on the No. 12 Cornhuskers. The team will then take a 10-day break for the holidays before jumping back into conference play with a trip to Coastal Carolina on Dec. 30.