• Redshirt-junior Kennedy Currie put the Panthers up for good with a three-point play with 39 seconds left as a part of a 10-point, five-rebound performance.
• Junior Emma Bockrath led the team with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
• Senior Kat Harris scored 13 of her 16 points after halftime in the victory.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – Redshirt-junior Kennedy Currie came through in the clutch on both ends of the court as the High Point University women’s basketball team bested Western Carolina in a thrilling 75-69 win in the Millis Center on Friday night.
With the Panthers (5-5) and Catamounts (2-10) tied 69-all, Currie slipped a ball screen and converted a beautiful pass from junior Emma Bockrath into a three-point play to give HPU a 72-69 lead with 39 seconds to play. On the next possession, Currie swatted a WCU shot attempt and grabbed the rebound before splitting a trip to the line.
“Honestly, I saw that the offense was stagnant so I went and set a ball screen,” Currie said of the crucial possession that led to her key basket. “Thankfully, Emma was able to hit me and I finished. Truthfully, I didn’t see anything but the rim because I knew in my mind that we had to finish plays.”
From there, the Purple & White were able to hold on for the hard-fought 75-69 victory. It was a game of runs with HPU posting a 25-9 run in the first half before outscoring the Catamounts 16-3 over the final 4:50.
“We like to make things interesting, for sure,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said of her 91st win on the HPU sideline. “I’m proud of our resiliency. We played Davidson on Monday and didn’t respond when they went on a run and I felt like we learned from that game and came back and responded after a shaky third quarter.”
Bockrath led the Panthers with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Meanwhile, freshman Jiselle Thomas, who scored 11 points during the first half run, finished the evening with 14 points. Senior Kat Harris was the key to the second half run scoring 13 of her 16 points after the break.
On the inside, Currie finished with 10 points, five rebounds and one block. Similarly, junior Lindsey Edwards was 4-of-5 from the floor and missed becoming HPU fifth double-digit scorer by one point finishing the night with nine.
Overall, the Panthers were outrebounded 44-26 as Sherae Bonner posted 17 points and 17 rebounds for WCU. The two teams registered similar shooting percentages with HPU hitting 42.1 percent (24-57) and the Catamounts knocking down 22-of-53 (41.5 percent).
Likewise, both teams hit eight three-pointers with HPU taking 18 and WCU taking 16. But it was the Panthers active defense that forced 24 Catamount turnovers, which lead to 28 points on the other end. Meanwhile, HPU only committed 10 miscues on the night.
The Catamounts led by as many as five in the first quarter before Thomas scored the next nine HPU points to put the home team up 20-17 a minute into the second. From there, both Harris and Thomas hit a three-pointer as High Point expanded its lead to 35-23 with 3:01 left in the half.
However, a late spurt from WCU allowed the visitors to enter the halftime locker room down eight, 38-30.
Out of the break, the Catamounts went 5-of-6 from three-point land in the third period to outscore the Panthers 25-14 and enter the fourth up 55-52.
In the final frame, the WCU lead grew as large as seven, 66-59, with 4:41 to play before the Panthers answered with the game-winning run. The 16-3 run was aided by nine made free throws, a Harris three-pointer and three-point plays by Edwards and Currie as HPU closed out the 75-69 victory.
The Purple & White will be back in action on Dec. 28 at 7:00 p.m. when they wrap up non-conference play against UNCG in Greensboro.