• Junior Emma Bockrath posted her eighth 20-point outing of the year tallying a game-high 20 points.
• Redshirt-junior Kennedy Currie added nine points and five boards on the day.
• After trailing by as many as 24 in the second period, the Panthers battled back as close as 12 in the fourth quarter before falling 78-54.
LYNCHBURG, Va. – The High Point University women’s basketball team fell behind after the first quarter and couldn’t erase that deficit in a 78-54 setback to No. 1 Liberty in Saturday’s semifinals of the Big South Championship in the Vines Center.
The Panthers (17-14) hit their first shot to tie the score at 2-2, but the Flames (23-9) outscored the Purple & White 23-7 the remainder of the frame to build a lead. From there, High Point didn’t get any closer than 12 while earning a trip to Sunday’s title.
“I wish we could go back and take away that first quarter because we came out with a slow start and Liberty hit tough shots and it was hard to bounce back against a really good team,” head coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “I’m extremely proud of our High Point team because of the effort that they showed and the character that they revealed, especially in the second half. I haven’t seen that consistent of an effort in a very long time and I feel that that epitomizes what High Point University is all about.”
Junior Emma Bockrath paced the Panthers scoring 20 points for the eighth time this season, but fouled out with 6:34 left in the fourth. Meanwhile, redshirt-junior Kennedy Currie just missed double figures scoring nine points to go with five rebounds.
Leading the Purple & White on the glass, junior Shea Morgan grabbed nine rebounds including six on the offensive end. In total, Liberty garnered a 43-35 edge on the glass despite HPU’s 16-12 margin on the offensive glass.
The top-seeded Flames outshot the Panthers 48.1 percent (25-of-52) to 29.5 percent (18-of-61). Adding to that, High Point shot an uncharacteristic 53.8 percent from the charity stripe (14-of-26) while Liberty made 22 of its 33 free throw attempts.
The hero of HPU’s quarterfinal win over PC, sophomore Camryn Brown tied senior Kat Harris for the team lead with three assists.
Defensively, junior Lindsey Edwards was a pest on the defensive end coming up with four of HPU’s eight steals on the afternoon.
Four minutes in, senior Hunter Fleming converted a layup to make it 6-4, Liberty. However, the Flames closed the quarter with a flurry to build a 25-9 edge. High Point couldn’t stem the tide for the remainder of the half as Liberty took a 38-17 advantage into the break.
After halftime, Liberty made their first two field goal attempts and extended its lead to 44-22 with 7:38 on the clock. However, HPU’s defense stepped up defensively holding the Flames without a field goal for over six minutes. As a result, Morgan’s and-one at the 1:46 mark cut the deficit to 15, 48-33, before the home team took a 52-35 margin into the final period.
Bockrath opened the fourth with consecutive trifectas to pull HPU within 13 at 54-31, before she fouled out with 6:48 on the clock. Despite playing without their top scorer, Brown’s three at the 4:48 mark made it 62-50. However, Liberty regained control and closed out the 78-54 victory to advance to Sunday’s championship.