Keys breaks HPU’s WBB D-I scoring record in 73-64 setback at WCU

• Senior Kaylah Keys tallied 13 points to move past Shamia Brown and become High Point’s Division I career scoring leader with 1,591 points in her three and a half seasons at HPU.
• Sophomore Emma Bockrath racked up a season-high 17 points to go with four assists and three rebounds.
• Off the bench, freshman Carol-Anne Obusek made the most of her first appearance in December with a career high in points (6) and rebounds (7).

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Senior Kaylah Keys became the High Point University women’s basketball team’s Division I scoring leader with 13 points as HPU fell 73-64 at Western Carolina on Wednesday night in Cullowhee, N.C.

The Panthers (2-8) and Catamounts (4-9) battled back and forth in the first half, but a third-quarter run gave WCU a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

“We’ll have to go back to the film, but I thought we played a pretty complete game; we just had some miscommunication on defense that cost us,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “It’s a process with our young team and we’re still developing, but we had two kids highlighted on the scouting report and we allowed both of them to have success.”

After posting 11 points through the first three quarters, Keys sat throughout much of the fourth quarter due to foul trouble. However, the Memphis, Tenn. product reentered the game with the Panthers trailing late in the fourth period.

Almost immediately, the guard converted a transition basket off an assist from sophomore Shea Morgan to break Shamia Brown’s scoring record with 1,591 in her time in the Purple & White.

“It means a lot to see Kaylah become the Division I scoring leader,” Hendrix said. “Kaylah has taken a lot on her shoulders these last two years and has been responsible for more with this team than most people realize, so to see her get this accomplishment is something to be very proud of.”

On the night, sophomore Emma Bockrath paced HPU stuffing the statsheet with 17 points, three rebounds and a team-high four assists. Similarly, Morgan added four assists to go with seven rebounds and four points.

The Panthers’ third player in double figures, junior Kat Harris, knocked down three trifectas to finish with 15 points while grabbing five boards. Meanwhile, freshman Carol-Anne Obusek produced a career night with six points and seven rebounds – both career bests.

HPU, which attempted 34 free throws in its last outing, went 7-of-8 at the line (87.5 percent) as the Catamounts converted 12 of their 21 trips to the charity stripe. From beyond the arc, both teams connected on seven three-pointers. HPU attempted 25 shots from international waters (28 percent) while WCU took 20 (35 percent).

Thanks to 13 rebounds from Sherea Bonner, the Catamounts enjoyed a 46-38 margin on the glass. On the other hand, HPU committed a season-low 10 turnovers and forced WCU into 12 miscues on the night.

Despite seven first-quarter points from Bockrath in a back and forth period, the Panthers trailed 21-19 after 10 minutes of play. The quarter featured 11 lead changes and three ties as neither team could build a lead larger than four in the frame.

Obusek kept the seesawing going early in the second quarter evening the score at 21-all a minute into the second period. WCU, then, answered with the next six points over a three-minute span to make it 27-21, 5:58.

However, Bockrath and Harris pulled HPU to within two before Obusek knotted the score again at 27-27 with a putback at the 3:03 mark. From there, the Catamounts outscored the Purple & White 9-5 to take a four-point advantage into the break.

After the break, WCU’s lead swelled to seven, 44-37, before Keys rattled off five straight points to pull within one point of the Division I scoring record (44-42, 5:24). But HPU couldn’t get any closer in the frame as the home team took a 52-46 edge into the final quarter.

In the first two minutes of the fourth, the Catamounts jumped on High Point with a 7-2 run to expand its lead to 11 points (59-48, 7:47). After the teams traded baskets, Harris sandwiched three-pointers around a jumper by Bockrath to make it 63-58 with 3:28 to play.

However, a 9-0 run from WCU to regain a double-digit edge, 72-58. High Point showed resilience cutting the lead to eight on Keys’ record-setting bucket (70-62, 1:09). But High Point couldn’t get any closer as the Catamounts closed out a 73-64 victory.

The Panthers are off for Christmas break until Dec. 30 when they host the UNCG Spartans in the Millis Center at 7:00 p.m.