HPU WBB Pulls Away From UNC Asheville For 67-50 Win

• Head coach DeUnna Hendrix earned her 50th win at High Point in 80 games, the quickest in the program’s Division I history.
• Redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson posted 14 points, five rebounds, four blocks, three steals and three assists in the contest.
• Sophomore DeAnneisha Jackson chipped in with 13 points, seven rebounds and a career-best tying four blocks off the bench.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team traveled to UNC Asheville on Tuesday night and came away with a 67-50 win inside Kimmel Arena.

The Panthers (11-6, 7-1) and the Bulldogs (3-13, 2-5) found themselves in a seesaw battle early, but a late run towards the end of the first half gave the Purple & White the lead, which it wouldn’t relinquish. The team’s offense didn’t have its best night (37 percent shooting), but the team got a lift from its solid defense.

“We preached in the offseason that we needed to get better at defense and rebounding and it’s starting to catch on,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said after her team held Asheville to 29 percent shooting in the second half. “These kids are really close, so they are playing for each other right now and our team defense has been phenomenal lately.”

The win gave Hendrix her 50th in 80 tries as head coach at High Point to become the fastest to reach that mark in the program’s Division I era.

Redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson, the reigning Big South Player of the Week, led the way with 14 points, five rebounds, four blocks, three steals and three assists.

Sophomore DeAnneisha Jackson came off of the Panthers bench and posted 13 points to go along with a team-high seven rebounds and a career-high tying four blocks. Sophomore Maja Michalska helped HPU earn a 22-13 advantage in bench points with seven points on the night.

Sophomore Kaylah Keys added a team-best 16 points and two assists as senior Latrice Phelps scored nine points and grabbed three boards. Senior Ashante Richard scored six points and dished out three assists.

The Purple & White didn’t have its customary great shooting night going 22-of- 59 overall and just 1-of-16 from beyond the arc. However, the defense held Asheville to 33 percent shooting and forced 20 turnovers to move to 7-1 when creating at least 17 turnovers.

“I’d like to see more of those [3-point attempts] go in, but it’s nice to be able to win without them,” Hendrix said.

The two teams went back and forth early as the lead changed hands six times in the first 10 minutes of action. A 3-pointer on the right wing by Tacey Trammell put the Bulldogs up 15-13 (10:10). Jackson was able to provide a spark and put the Panthers on top with back-to-back baskets prior to the under-8 timeout (17-15, 7:35).

However, Asheville was able to even the score once again before a Phelps jumper broke the tie and a 3-point play by Michalska upped the lead to five (22-17, 5:02). The lead continued to grow as Keys and Robertson knocked down four straight free throws to make it an 11-2 run for HPU. Shonese Jones provided a 3-pointer to stop the Panthers run and keep the Bulldogs close (28-22, 2:10). Each squad added a basket in the final 90 seconds to send the Purple & White to the half with a 30-24 lead.

Asheville’s K.J. Weaver opened the second half by splitting a trip to the free throw line before Keys knocked down the Panther’s lone 3-pointer of the game to make it 33-25 (19:14). Once again though, the Bulldogs answered with a 5-0 spurt to pull within three (33-30, 18:09). Robertson then took control and answered the run with a 5-0 run on her own to push HPU’s lead back out to eight (38-30, 15:50). Jackson continued the run with a 3-point play to give the Panthers eight straight points and a 41-30 lead with 14:57 left to play.

Asheville mounted another run and pulled back within seven points, but a jumper by freshman Kat Harris and a steal-and-score by Phelps sparked a 6-0 run to push the lead out to 13 (49-36, 8:59). From there, the Panthers were able to keep the Bulldogs at arms’ reach and cruise to a 67-50 win.

The Panthers get a week without a game to rest up before hosting Gardner-Webb on Tuesday, Jan. 20 at the Millis Center at 7 p.m. The team will then travel to Radford on Saturday, Jan. 24 to play at 2 p.m. on ESPN3.