HPU WBB Panthers edged by Highlanders, 59-56, on Tuesday

• Junior Kat Harris led the Purple & White with 12 points on the night.
• Freshman Camryn Brown posted 11 points, three rebounds and two assists off the bench.
• Sophomore Emma Bockrath tallied a career high in steals with five while chipping in with 10 points and two boards.

RADFORD, Va. – The High Point University women’s basketball battled back from an early deficit to take a third-quarter lead, but couldn’t hold on as Radford earned a hard-fought 59-56 win on Tuesday night in the Dedmon Center.

The backcourt trio of junior Kat Harris, sophomore Emma Bockrath and freshman Camryn Brown paced the Panthers (4-12, 2-3). Meanwhile, the Highlanders (13-3, 5-0) followed the lead of Jayda Worthy’s 12 points and six rebounds.

Radford led throughout the first 24 minutes before a 7-0 anchored by a Harris three-pointer allowed HPU to grab a 38-37 edge with 7:47 left in the third. However, the Highlanders responded a minute later to retake a lead they wouldn’t give up.

“I think we’re really starting to see how good we can be and how hardwork is going to equate to wins eventually,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “Cohesion is everything for us and when we talk and play together we are a really good team. The thing with us is that we need to get better at executing, especially in close games like this. But we’ll work on it this week and will come back better.”

Harris registered a dozen points while Brown came off the bench to pour in 11 tallies while grabbing three boards and dishing out two assists. Rounding out the trio, Bockrath racked up 10 points, six rebounds and a career-high five steals in the contest.

From their forward spots, sophomore Haleigh Hatfield drained two three’s and pulled down five rebounds as sophomore Shea Morgan added six points and seven boards. Similarly, redshirt-sophomore Kennedy Currie registered four points and five rebounds in a reserve role.

Rounding out the scoring for the Purple & White, senior Kaylah Keys tallied three points and sophomore Lindsey Edwards posted four points and six rebounds.

In the contest, the Highlanders enjoyed a +4 margin on the glass (37-33) and a +6 edge in paint points (24-18). On the other had, High Point recorded an advantage in turnovers (15-10).

The Big South-leading Radford defense held HPU to a 37 percent (22-60) night from the floor while hitting 42 percent (22-52) of its own attempts. Tuesday’s contest was the third straight matchup between the two conference foes played in the Dedmon Center that was decided by one possession.

In the opening frame, the Panthers withstood a hot start from the Highlanders and used a late 7-0 run to finish the first period trailing 21-15. Then, through the first 4:30 of the second quarter, Radford was able to maintain a seven-point edge, 28-21.

However, HPU converted consecutive second-chance opportunities with a jumper from Harris and a layup from Edwards to make it 28-25 with 4:25 left in the half. From there, the Highlanders regained momentum and built a 37-31 lead at halftime.

After the break, High Point came out hot hitting three straight jumpers capped by a three-pointer from Harris to earn its first lead of the night, 38-37.

Unfortunately for HPU, it proved to be its only lead of the night as the Highlanders answered with six straight to take a 43-38 lead (5:30, 3rd).

Despite never leading by more than seven throughout the final quarter and a half, Radford didn’t allow HPU to complete the comeback.

In the end, tb he Panthers battled to within three in the closing seconds, but Brown just missed a game-tying effort as the Highlanders held on for a 59-56 victory.

After a week on the road, the Purple & White are back in the Millis Center on Saturday at 2 p.m. when they host Gardner-Webb.