HPU opens postseason against No. 11 Winthrop
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team begins its Big South Tournament run on Thursday at 7 p.m. against No. 11 Winthrop in Asheville, N.C.
The Panthers enter the tournament as the No. 6 seed after finishing the regular season with a 10-10 conference record and a 11-18 mark overall. The Eagles (4-25, 3-17) were picked to finish second in the conference, but had their season derailed by injuries.
Friday’s game will be broadcast on the Big South Network. After that, the games will air on ESPN3.
All-Time Series with Winthrop
• High Point owns a 25-20 advantage against the Eagles, but is 5-5 in the last 10.
• Winthrop is 2-1 against the Purple & White in the Big South Tournament. HPU has been the higher seed each time including a loss as the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinals of the 2007 tournament. The most recent matchup was an 87-74 Eagles win in the 2015 title game.
How They’ve Faired in 2015-16
• Haleigh Hatfield shot the Panthers to a 74-67 road win on Jan. 19. HPU then earned an 80-60 victory on Feb. 20 after Erica Williams was lost for the season.
• Injuries have forced Winthrop into playing zone this season and HPU has taken advantage in the two meetings. Led by Hatfield (16.5 ppg), the Purple & White are averaging 77.0 points per contest and hit 15-25 (.600) of their three-point attempts against the Eagles this season.
Showing Her Claws
• Sophomore Kat Harris is averaging 17.2 points per game over the last three weeks while knocking down 19-37 three-point attempts (.514).
• The Charlotte, N.C. product has upped her career high in points in back-to-back games with 19 versus against Campbell (3/1) and 20 points at UNC Asheville (3/5).
• She hasn’t taken enough attempts to qualify among the conference leaders, but is shooting 44 percent from three-point land and 86 percent from the charity stripe.
Big South’s Best Scorer
Kaylah Keys led the Big South in scoring this season with 14.9 points per game. The Southaven, Miss. native is the leading active scorer in the conference (1,451 points) after passing Liberty’s Ashley Riniger in January.
• The Purple & White have relied heavily on its seven freshmen with all of them appearing in at least 22 contests while Haleigh Hatfield and Emma Bockrath started all 29 games this season.
• The freshmen class has accounted for 56 percent of the team’s points (1,047-1,885) and rebounds (568-1,019) this season.
• Six of the squad’s nine players to average 10.0 minutes per game are freshmen.
Kaylah Keys is one point behind former Coastal Carolina star A.J. Jordan and two back of Liberty’s Avery Warley for 24th and 23rd respectively on the Big South’s career scoring list.
Bockrath Finishing Strong
Freshman Emma Bockrath is averaging 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and is shooting 46 percent from the floor over the last six contests.
The Purple & White lead the conference and are 33rd in the country shooting .749 from the free throw line in 2015-16. Shea Morgan (.957), Kat Harris (.855), Kaylah Keys (.831) and Haleigh Hatfield (.803) are all shooting over 80 percent on the year.
• The Panthers have started the same five players in all but one contest. In that game, Kaylah Keys didn’t start but led the team in scoring.
Big South Tourney Notes
• High Point is 11-4 as the higher seed in their tournament opener.
• HPU has never played a seed lower than No. 8, when it lost to Winthrop as the top seed in 2007.
• The Purple & White are 15-7 all-time as the higher seed while recording just one upset win in 10 tries.
• DeUnna Hendrix is 4-3 in the tourney. The coach lost her first game in the tournament in overtime, but has since made back-to-back trips to the title game.
• The Panthers are 2-11 against the top three seeds, but 14-5 against teams seeded fourth or lower.
A victory will send the Purple & White into the quarterfinals to take on No. 3-seeded Radford in the nightcap on Friday. Scheduled tip-off is 8 p.m. in Kimmel Arena with the game being broadcasted on ESPN3.