High Point WBB shoots its way past Longwood 89-70

• Senior Kaylah Keys led four Panthers scoring in double figures with 25 points.
• Freshman Haleigh Hatfield posted her second double-double of the year with 14 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.
• High Point connected on a season-best 11 three-pointers on 25 attempts (44 percent).

FARMVILLE, Va. – Junior Kaylah Keys sparked the High Point University women’s basketball team’s offensive explosion in an 89-70 victory at Longwood on Tuesday night.

Keys poured in 25 points to lead four players scoring in double figures for the Panthers (9-15, 8-7). The Lancers (6-19, 3-13) cut a 20-point deficit to seven on three occasions, but couldn’t get any closer before HPU pulled away late.

“We’re talented offensively and to score 89 points tonight looks nice,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “I’m just proud of how our team withstood the runs that Longwood made. It’s going to happen and we haven’t been able to withstand them consistently, but we did tonight. We look composed and calm in the fourth quarter and that’s encouraging.”

Keys eclipsed 20 points for the third time in four games hitting four three-pointers and grabbing five steals. Sophomore Kat Harris nearly gave the Purple & White two players with 20 points posting a career-best 19 to go along with five rebounds.

Despite the solid outings from the backcourt, freshman Haleigh Hatfield recorded the most efficient night for HPU. The forward hit all four shots from the floor and four free throws to tally 14 points while grabbing a career-high 13 rebounds. Freshmen Emma Bockrath registered a dozen points to round out the four in double-digit scorers as freshman Lindsey Edwards chipped in with eight points.

HPU drilled a season-high 11 three-pointers on the night and hit 27-of-62 shots overall (43 percent) in setting a new season high with 89 points. The Big South’s best free-throw shooting team lived up to its billing as the Panthers converted 24-of-25 at the charity stripe. On the other end, Longwood hit 43 percent of its shots while making nine three-pointers.

On the inside, senior Aariel Allen reeled in nine boards as High Point earned a +15 margin (43-28) on the glass. Despite losing the turnover battle (16-13), the Purple & White recorded 10 steals on the night and tallied 13 points off turnovers.

The Panthers jumped out to a 25-19 lead after the first quarter hitting 47 percent of their shots in the frame. Edwards came off the bench to notch six first-quarter points while Keys, Harris and Hatfield scored five apiece in the frame.

Keys posted eight more points as the team opened the second quarter on an 21-7 run to up its lead to 46-26 with 5:23 left in the half. However, the Lancers refused to go quietly scoring 15 of the next 17 points to go into the break down seven points (48-41).

After the break, High Point wouldn’t allow Longwood pull any closer scoring the first seven points to take a 55-41 advantage. But the Lancers chipped into HPU’s lead once again pulling within seven with 6:34 to play (68-61).

From there, Keys and Bockrath combined for a 7-0 run to stretch the lead back to 14 points (75-61, 5:13). Then Longwood mounted one more run (8-1) to get back to within seven points at 75-68. However, Harris hit a three-pointer to stem the tide before the Panthers converted 10 straight free throws to regain their 20-point edge at 89-69 with 31 seconds to play. The Lancers split a trip to the line with 19 seconds left to end the scoring at 89-70.

The Purple & White are back at home on Saturday when they host Winthrop at 2 p.m. in the program’s “Think Pink” game.