• Redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds and four steals in the game.
• Senior Latrice Phelps posted 17 points and three rebounds.
• The 2015 senior class leaves with the most wins in the program’s Division I era.
CONWAY, S.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team battled Liberty for a full 40 minutes in Sunday’s Big South Championship title game but came up just short, falling to the Flames 74-64 at the HTC Center.
The Panthers led by as many as nine (33-24) in the first half and were tied with Liberty at halftime (37-37), but the Flames used runs of 15-5 and 9-2 in the second half to ultimately prevail over the Panthers.
“Liberty is a tough team, they are a championship program and they know what to do in these moments,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “We knew we had to play well to beat them and I’m proud of my team’s resiliency because we battled to the end.”
HPU ends another sensational season under Hendrix with a 20-12 record. High Point’s graduating senior class was a part of three 20-win seasons, including each of the last two campaigns. The quintet is leaves with more wins than any other class in the program’s Division I era.
Redshirt-senior Stacia Robertson played her final game in a High Point uniform with the type of extraordinary performance Panther fans have grown accustomed to from the star forward. Robertson posted a game-high 24 points and tallied nine rebounds and four steals in 34 minutes on the floor.
Robertson was named to the Big South All-Tournament Team after averaging 21.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.3 steals over HPU’s three tournament contests.
Fellow star senior Latrice Phelps put forth a strong 17-point effort on 7-of-12 shooting and chipped in three rebounds, while sophomore Kaylah Keys tallied 10 points, three rebounds and two assists.
Liberty shot 48.3 percent (28-58) for the game, including a 52.0 percent (13-25) clip in the deciding second half. HPU made 37.3 percent (19-51) of its attempts in the game and was 8-of-26 (.308) in the second half.
The Flames held a +10 (38-28) advantage on the glass and in points in the pain (34-24), but HPU hung with the Flames on the strength of a strong defensive effort that included seven steals. High Point forced 13 Liberty turnovers and held a 14-11 edge in points off turnovers in the game.
High Point jumped out to a 13-10 lead, but Liberty responded with a 7-0 run to build a 17-13 lead. The Flames led 22-21 with 9:40 to play in the half, but at that point, the Panthers put together a sensational 12-2 surge that gave HPU a 33-24 advantage with 5:19 to play in the stanza. The run included five points from sophomore guard Teddy Vincent and four from Keys.
From there, the Panthers offense stalled for the remainder of the half with HPU converting one field goal over the final five minutes of the period. Liberty scored eight of the final nine points of the half and the two teams entered the break tied at 37-37.
In an evenly played opening half, HPU shot 44.0 percent (11-25) from the field while Liberty made 45.5 percent (15-33) of its attempts. Robertson led the Panthers with 13 first half points.
The Flames opened the second half on a 15-5 run to build a 52-42 advantage with 13:52 to play in the game. With Liberty ahead, 57-45, HPU utilized an 8-1 run to get back within five (58-53) with 7:11 left in the contest. But LU responded with a 9-2 spurt of its own to move in front by 12 (67-55) with 2:47 remaining and HPU could not move closer than 10 (74-64) for the remainder of the game.