HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team will look to win its fifth straight game when it hosts Gardner-Webb on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Millis Center.
The Panthers (11-6, 7-1) have won their last four games by an average of 24 points since their loss at Liberty. Meanwhile, the Runnin’ Bulldogs (7-11, 3-6) have dropped two straight games to Campbell and UNC Asheville.
Last Time Out:
The Purple & White went on the road on Tuesday and came away with a 67-50 win over UNC Asheville in Kimmel Arena. HPU was led in scoring by sophomore Kaylah Keys with 16 points while redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson posted 14 points, five rebounds, four blocks, three steals and three assists.
HPU didn’t have their typical solid shooting night as the team finished 22-of-59 (37 percent) and made one 3-pointer on 16 attempts. However, the team found a way to score enough points by getting to the line 27 times and converting on 22 of those opportunities (82 percent).
Sophomore DeAnneisha Jackson played well off of the Panthers’ bench with 13 points and a team-best seven rebounds while tying her career high with four blocks. Senior Latrice Phelps came up just short of giving HPU four players scoring in double figures with nine points.
The game saw the lead change hands 10 times in the first 10 minutes, but an 11-2 run allowed the Panthers to enter the locker room up by six before an early second-half run gave them the separation they needed to cruise to the win.
HPU’s defense played a key role causing 20 turnovers and holding the Bulldogs to 33 percent shooting from the floor; and, despite the slow start on offense, never let the Panthers trail by more than three points.
Gardner-Webb suffered a 64-55 loss at home against UNC Asheville as the Runnin’ Bulldogs shot just 25 percent from the floor. The team couldn’t overcome a nine-point halftime deficit after shooting 6-of-29 (20.6 percent) from the floor in the first half.
Junior forward Olivia Parker and senior forward Jessica Heilig give Gardner-Webb a solid front line as Parker posts 12.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while Heilig adds 11.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per night. Thanks in large part to Parker and Heilig, the team is fourth in the league averaging a plus-4.2 rebounding margin on the year.
Junior guard Candace Brown anchors the team’s backcourt averaging 9.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 3.0 apg. Senior Mayhana Dunovant starts at the other guard spot and is the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ top outside threat knocking down 40 percent of her 3-point attempts. Outside of those four veterans, Gardner-Webb leans heavily on underclassmen as sophomore Kiera Currie and three freshmen are the other four players to average 10 minutes per contest.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs like to play at a fast pace and attempt over 60 shots and cause 19.3 turnovers per outing. However, the team has a tendency to turn it over as well (18.9/game), is seventh in the Big South in shooting percentage (38 percent) and hits 30 percent of its 3-point attempts. On the other hand, Gardner-Webb is last in the Big South allowing its opponents to hit 36 percent of their shots from 3-point land.
• The Panthers have a 14-11 series lead over the Runnin’ Bulldogs. The Purple & White swept both contests with Gardner-Webb last season and is 3-1 during DeUnna Hendrix’s tenure.
• The Purple & White have won 13 straight games inside the Millis Center dating back to Jan. 11, 2014. The team is 8-0 at home this season after winning the final five home games last year.
• HPU is tied with Coastal Carolina for the Big South lead in shooting percentage (42.5 percent) and is on pace to beat the program record of 41.3 percent from the 2010-11 season.
• Stacia Robertson ranks in the top 25 nationally in field goal percentage (seventh, .611), blocks (13th, 3.31) and steals (22nd, 2.88). The forward is also second in the Big South – 65th in the nation – in rebounding with 9.4 rebs/g., She leads the conference in steals and shooting percentage, is second in scoring and blocks.
• Kaylah Keys and Stacia Robertson form the highest-scoring tandem in the Big South. The inside-outside duo is averaging 30.8 points a game. Robertson is third in the league with 15.8 ppg while Keys is fourth with 15.0 ppg.
• The Panthers are on a four-game winning streak in which they have outscored their opponents by 24 points per contest
The Panthers will continue to alternate between home and road games as they travel to Radford on Saturday to wrap up the first trip through the conference.