• Sophomore Kaylah Keys led the Panthers with 28 points on 10-of-12 shooting overall and 4-of-4 shooting from 3-point land.
• Redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson tallied 20 points, six rebounds and six steals in her final home game.
• High Point finished the regular season on a three-game winning streak and will enter the conference tournament as the No. 3 seed.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University sent its five seniors out in style with an 83-63 win over Radford in the Millis Center on Saturday evening.
The Panthers (18-11, 14-6) got a last-second 3-pointer from sophomore Kaylah Keys to take a 22-point lead (49-27) at the break and cruised to the victory over the Highlanders (17-12, 14-6). The win gives HPU the No. 3 seed while Radford will enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed.
High Point honored its five seniors Lindsay Puckett, Ashante Richard, Stacia Robertson, Latrice Phelps and Katie Vincent prior to the game.
“What a way to go out for our seniors,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “Those five have done a lot for our program, so to play like we did and to get the victory is huge several reasons.”
Keys had one of her best games of the season tallying 28 points on 10-of-12 shooting – including 4-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
“Kaylah’s focus was on getting a win for her seniors,” Hendrix said. “She’s gone through some struggles this season and has really leaned on them for guidance. I don’t think she was worried about scoring, she just wanted them to get the win.”
The senior class did its part as well. Robertson registered 20 points and six rebounds while tying her career high with six steals. Phelps gave the Panthers three players in double figures with 17 points and nine rebounds in her final game in the Millis Center. Richard posted four points and dished out six assists at the point.
The dominance of the team’s starting five allowed HPU to offset Radford’s 31-9 advantage in bench points. The Highlanders also earned a +5 (34-29) margin on the glass while the Panthers held a +5 (19-14) margin in turnovers. The Purple & White turned those 19 Radford turnovers into 25 points on the other end.
The Highlanders jumped out on top with a basket by Ayana Avery in the game’s first possession. However, Keys and Robertson combined for 15 points in the next five minutes to allow the Panthers to grab a 15-6 lead with 14:03 on the clock.
Phelps hit a jumper to extend the HPU advantage to 11 points before the Highlanders got four straight to make it 17-11 (12:04). The Purple & White responded with an 11-2 run highlighted by a 3-pointer from sophomore Teddy Vincent to build a 16-point lead (28-12, 7:40).
The Highlanders worked their way back within 11 points (31-20) when Avery drilled a 3-point from the top of the key with 5:27 on the clock.
But Robertson and Phelps wouldn’t let them pull any closer. The pair scored 13 of the squad’s next 15 points as the lead swelled to 46-27 with 29 seconds until the break.
HPU’s strong close to the half didn’t stop there. After Claudia Quevedo split a trip to the line, Keys hit a long-range trifecta at the buzzer to send the Panthers to the half up 49-27. HPU connected on 59 percent (19-of-32) from the floor in the first half while Robertson (16), Keys (15) and Phelps (11) reached double figures in scoring.
Keys opened the second half with a steal and a score. She then found Robertson for a layup in transition as the Panthers upped their lead to 53-27 (18:26). However, Radford fought back and used a 9-2 run to cut its deficit to 19 points (55-36, 14:45).
Once again, Keys had the answer as the guard drilled her fourth 3-pointer of the contest to give HPU a 58-36 advantage with 14:32 on the clock. Vincent followed by converting two technical free throws as the Purple & White took a 24-point lead (60-36, 14:15).
The Highlanders were able to cut the lead down to 18 points at 62-44 with a 5-0 spurt at the 12:15 mark. This time it was Phelps with the answer. The senior scored the game’s next four points to give HPU a 22-point lead with 11:24 to play.
The teams traded baskets for the next six minutes. Radford broke the stalemate with four quick points to make it an 18-point game (72-54) with six minutes to play. However, a layup by Phelps and a 3-pointer from Puckett put HPU back up by 23 points (77-54, 4:01).
From there, the visitors weren’t able to mount another run and the Panthers pulled away for an 83-63 triumph.
The Purple & White earned the No. 3 seed in next week’s Big South Conference Tournament at Coastal Carolina. The team will play at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 8 against the winner of No. 6 Presbyterian and No. 11 Charleston Southern.