Site: Greensboro, N.C. (Fleming Gymnasium)
Score: UNCG 82, High Point 70
Records: UNCG: 8-4, HPU: 2-7
Next HPU Event: Saturday, Dec. 28 — at Campbell (Buies Creek, N.C) 2 p.m.
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team ended its non-conference schedule with an 82-70 loss at UNCG Saturday afternoon (Dec. 21). Sophomore Skyler Curran had her third 20-point performance of the season, leading the team with 28 points and 10 rebounds for her first career double-double.
“Even though the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, I think this was our best offensive movement game,” head coach Chelsea Banbury had to say after the game. “Now we have to build on it and knock down some shots. UNCG had a couple players play really well that stepped up and made some big plays to get them on a little run that we couldn’t recover from.”
Curran got off to a hot start early, scoring 11 of High Point’s first 14 points in the game, with redshirt sophomore Danielle Deoul connecting from behind the arc for the other three. UNCG went on a run after trailing the Panthers by one, scoring seven straight to lead 18-12. The Spartans scored four of the next six to build their largest lead of the half at eight, 22-14. The Panthers battled back in the final minute of the quarter, scoring five of the last seven to end the quarter down five, 24-19.
The momentum HPU created at the end of the first carried into the second quarter, with the Purple and White scoring the first five points of the quarter to knot the game up at 24. High Point took the lead for the first time since 4:23 into the game when Curran drove to the lane for a contested layup. Senior Camryn Brown extended the lead to two after drilling a shot from deep to make it 29-27 in favor of HPU with 6:27 left in the half, forcing UNCG to take a timeout. Brown finished the game with 17 points, putting her career total at 948, 52 shy of the 1,000-point mark.
The Spartans battled back to tie it and then retake the lead but it didn’t last long. High Point recovered in the final minute once again, pushing the lead to four, the largest of the half for the Panthers, at 40-36 with 14 seconds left. A late UNCG layup in the half cut the lead to two points before the teams headed into the locker rooms.
It was the third time HPU has reached the 40-point mark before halftime, with the other two times both ending with Panther victories. High Point did a great job limiting its mistakes in the first 20 minutes, committing only four turnovers while forcing eight from the Spartans, three of which came on steals by the Panthers’ defense. HPU ended the game committing a season-low 10 turnovers while forcing 18, with a season-high 10 steals. High Point also had one of its best quarters of shooting in the second, connecting on half of the shots it took.
UNCG went on an 8-3 run to take the lead back in the second half and pushed the lead up to three, 50-47. Deoul replicated her start in the first half, connecting on a triple early in the second half as well as part of High Point’s resistance to UNCG’s run. Deoul finished the game with a career-high eight points in a career-high 25 minutes of action.
The hosts didn’t stay in the lead much longer, as freshman Callie Scheier connected from long range to tie things up and then hit from deep again to give HPU the lead after the media timeout, part of her nine-point effort on the day. The Spartans came out hot after the timeout, ending the quarter on a 10-2 run to head into the fourth up 60-55.
UNCG continued its run to start the final quarter of play, opening the fourth on a 12-5 run to push its lead to 12 points, 72-60. The lead grew another point to 13 before a layup from freshman Amaria McNear and a triple from Curran cut it to single digits.
In the end, the comeback bid came up short, with the experience of the Spartans holding off High Point to win 82-70. Curran grabbed an offensive board late in the game to give her 10 and the double-double. UNCG finished the game with a 59.2% shooting percentage, the highest the Panthers have allowed all season and the best the Spartans have shot all year.
High Point returns to action after Christmas with the start of conference play, heading to Campbell on Dec. 28 for a 2 p.m. game. The road trip finishes on New Year’s Eve with a 1 p.m. game at Winthrop before the Panthers return to open the new decade at the Millis Center on Jan. 4 against USC Upstate.