HPU WBB drops contest at Coastal Carolina, 79-53

• Junior Kaylah Keys tallied 21 points to pass Katie O’Dell and Jurica Hargraves and move into second on HPU’s Division I scoring list.
• Sophomore Kat Harris finished the night with seven points and three assists.
• High Point is back at home on Saturday to play Gardner-Webb at 4 p.m. on ESPN3.

CONWAY, S.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team falls 79-53 to Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C. on Tuesday night.

The Panthers (8-14, 7-6) were led all night by junior Kaylah Keys offensively, but couldn’t stop the Chanticleers (8-14, 3-10) on the defensive end. Keys recorded 21 points to pass Katie O’Dell and Jurica Hargraves and move into second on HPU’s Division I scoring list with 1,340 career points.

“Tonight was a lesson for us,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “On Saturday we played great defense against Presbyterian and won and tonight we allowed 79 points and we lost. It’s that simple and until our kids completely buy into the defensive side of things we will continue to struggle.”

Sophomore Kat Harris chipped in with seven points while freshman Kyrie’ Chandler added six for the Purple & White. Freshman Shea Morgan came off the bench to lead the team with seven boards as CCU earned a 39-30 edge on the glass.

Defensively, the Panthers allowed the Chanticleers to shoot 47.1 percent (24-51) while hitting 31.6 percent (18-57) of their own attempts. Turnovers continued to be an issue for HPU as the squad committed 22 miscues while forcing 16 on the other end.

Freshman Haleigh Hatfield opened the scoring with a three-pointer off the opening tip before CCU fought back to lead 4-3. The teams went back and forth for the remainder of the quarter as Keys posted nine points to give HPU a 16-13 lead after the period.

The Purple & White maintained their lead until the Chanticleers hit a driving layup at the 4:55 mark to earn a 26-24 edge. On the next possession, Keys knotted the score at 26-all, but the home finished the half on an 11-4 run to build a 37-30 advantage at the break.

After halftime, CCU continued its hot shooting and extended the lead to 16 points at 54-38 with 3:23 left in the third frame. Then Chandler got going hitting three-pointers on consecutive possessions to send HPU to the final quarter trailing 60-48.

In the final period, the Chanticleers posted the first 10 points of the fourth as their advantage swelled to 22 points (70-48, 6:38). From there, CCU cruised to a 79-53 victory in the HTC Center.

High Point returns to action on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Millis Center to face Gardner-Webb on ESPN3. The game is the afternoon half of a double-header as the men’s team hosts Charleston Southern at 7 p.m.