HPU WBB heads north for showdown with Flames

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team looks to continue its climb in the Big South standings when it plays conference-leading Liberty on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Lynchburg, Va.

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The Panthers (7-12, 6-4) are winners of four of their last five contests and have fought to within two games of the conference leaders. HPU’s lone setback during this recent stretch came by one point to UNC Asheville, who is tied with the Flames (11-8, 8-2) atop the league standings.

Last Time Out
• Sophomore Kat Harris drove through the Radford defense for a game-winning layup with 0.5 seconds left to give HPU a 56-54 victory on Tuesday in the Dedmon Center.
• Freshman Emma Bockrath stuffed the stat sheet for the Purple & White. The guard paced the team with 17 points, six rebounds, five assists, one block and one steal in 38 minutes.
• Freshman Shea Morgan posted a career-best 13 points on 6-7 shooting while grabbing six boards.
• Harris gave the Panthers three double-digit scorers with 12 points to go along with three steals and three assists.

Recent Road Success
• The Panthers have won three straight road contests in league play for the first time since Feb. 15-March 1, 2014.

Youth Movement
• HPU’s seven freshmen are logging 64 percent of the team’s minutes and are scoring 58 percent of HPU points while grabbing 58 percent of the squad’s steals this season.
• In the team’s last four victories, the freshmen’s output has increased to 73 percent of the scoring and 67 percent of the rebounds.

Keys’ Climb
• Junior Kaylah Keys is the leading active scorer in the Big South Conference after passing Liberty’s Ashley Rininger in early January.
• Keys is fourth on HPU’s Division I scoring list with 1,289 points in just two-plus seasons. She needs 34 to tie Katie O’Dell for third place.

Scouting the Flames
• The league’s defending champions and preseason favorites have won four straight including a 73-51 win over Gardner-Webb on Tuesday night.
• The Flames earned a +18 margin in rebounds while holding the Runnin’ Bulldogs to 26.8 percent shooting from the floor.
• Preseason Big South Player of the Year Ashley Rininger has missed the last nine games after averaging 13.3 points and 7.2 rebounds through the first 10 contests.
• In Rininger’s absence, Katelyn Adams and Catherine Kearney combine for 16.2 points and 15.7 rebounds per contest.
• Senior Sadalia Ellis runs the show averaging 10.5 points, 3.2 assists and 1.8 steals per contest.

All-Time Series with Liberty
• Liberty leads the series 35-13 as the only league foe with a winning record against HPU.

Last Time They Met
• The two teams met three times last season with Liberty winning all three. The final matchup was in the Big South championship game where the Flames erased a 10-point first-half deficit to win 74-64.

Next Up
The Panthers come back to the Millis Center to host Presbyterian on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 2 p.m.