HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team will look to stay hot as it travels north to take on Radford on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Dedmon Center on ESPN3.
The Panthers (12-6, 8-1) dispatched of Gardner-Webb on Tuesday to move into a tie with Liberty atop the conference standings. The Highlanders (9-9, 6-3) also picked up a win on Tuesday at UNC Asheville and are now tied for third in the Big South.
Last Time Out:
HPU got off to a slow start against Gardner-Webb on Tuesday, but heated up in the second half to earn a 72-57 win in the Millis Center. The Purple & White trailed the Runnin’ Bulldogs by as many as 11 points in the first half before erasing the deficit by halftime and cruising to a victory with a season-best 48 points in the second half.
Sophomore Kaylah Keys led the second-half charge with 20 of her 24 points coming after the break. The guard also connected on all four of her 3-point attempts in the period.
Redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson had another well-rounded outing posting 13 points, nine rebounds, five blocks, four steals and four assists. Senior Latrice Phelps chipped in with eight points and eight rebounds as sophomore DeAnneisha Jackson added six points and five boards.
The Panthers converted 31 percent of their shot attempts in the first half. However, the team caught fire after halftime and hit 19-of-30 (63 percent) in the second half, including all five of its 3-point attempts.
Senior Ashante Richard scored eight points on 4-of-4 shooting and dished out two of the team’s 11 assists. Richard’s defensive pressure set the tone for HPU as the team forced the Runnin’ Bulldogs into 23 turnovers. Meanwhile, the HPU defense held Gardner-Webb to just 30 percent (21-of-70) shooting.
The Highlanders are as hot as any team in the Big South. The squad has won six of its last seven games including a 67-65 win at UNC Asheville on Tuesday. Freshman Claudia Quevedo led the way with a career-high 19 points.
Radford has experience in close games with five of its last six wins coming by single digits. Likewise, its only loss in the last seven games came in overtime at Campbell. Despite having success in close games recently, the team is converting 63 percent of its trips to the free throw line.
The Highlanders are the Big South’s most accurate 3-point shooting team thanks in large park to senior Ayana Avery. The guard is tied for the league lead with 42 made 3-pointers and is third in the conference hitting 36 percent of her shots from beyond the arc.
Avery leads the team with 10.8 points per contest while junior Aisha Foy posts 9.0 points a night and is also a threat from 3-point land. Freshman Janayla White anchors the team down low with 7.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per outing. Senior Jordynn Gaymon adds 7.2 rebounds and 6.8 points per game.
Defensive pressure will be important for HPU because the Highlanders are averaging to lose the turnover battle by 5.4 turnovers per outing. On the other hand, Radford is a solid rebounding team and enters the game averaging a 3.4 rebound margin.
• The Panthers hold a 23-15 series lead over the Highlanders. The Purple & White have won the last three meetings between the programs and are 3-1 with DeUnna Hendrix at the helm.
• High Point has won its last five games by 22.2 points per contest. The team’s eight conference wins have come by an average of 19 points.
• Redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson has been playing on another level during the team’s five-game winning streak. The forward is averaging 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.4 blocks, 3.0 assists and 2.8 steals and has three 20-point outings during that span.
• Kaylah Keys has scored in double figures in all but two of her 29 league outings after posting a team-high 24 points on Tuesday night against the Runnin’ Bulldogs. She is averaging 19.0 points per conference game in her career and has scored 20 or more points in 16-of-29 league contests.
• Kaylah Keys and Stacia Robertson form the highest-scoring tandem in the Big South. The inside-outside duo is averaging 31.1 points a game. Robertson is third in the league with 15.6 ppg while Keys is fourth with 15.5 ppg.
• The Purple & White is 11-1 when at least three players reach double figures in scoring. The win over Gardner-Webb was the first time this season the team won with two-or-fewer players scoring 10-plus points.
• HPU’s offense is shooting at a record pace this season. The team enters the game hitting 42.8 percent of its shots after a solid 27-of-56 (48.2 percent) performance against Gardner-Webb. The Purple & White sits atop the Big South in shooting percentage and is on pace to beat the program record of 41.3 from the 2010-11 season.
The team will return home to host Coastal Carolina on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. and Liberty on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. Liberty and HPU are currently tied for first place in the conference standings.