Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: High Point 68, Radford 58
Records: HPU: 4-9 (2-2 Big South), RU: 4-8, (2-1 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Thursday, Jan. 9 — at UNC Asheville (Asheville, N.C.) 6 p.m.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – Senior Camryn Brown flirted with the second triple-double in program history, scoring 14 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and dishing out nine assists in High Point University women’s basketball’s victory over Radford on Monday night (Jan. 6). Freshman Amaria McNear grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds and redshirt freshman Jenson Edwards dropped a career-high 14 points to tie Brown for the team lead in the Panthers’ second straight Big South victory.
“Things are really starting to come together,” head coach Chelsea Banbury said of her team’s performance in the victory. “We’re playing as a team, we had multiple great efforts from players. Chyna McMichel was huge for us to start off the game – getting to the rim, knocking down a three, they couldn’t stop her to start. We shot the ball exceptionally well in the first half, we were 10-18 from three and that was nice to see us step up with confidence and knock down some shots.”
Indeed, it was McMichel proving to be the difference-maker in the opening 10 minutes, with the junior scoring nine of the High Point’s first 20 points. The teams traded layups and triples for the first points of the contest before High Point went on a 10-1 run to take the lead 15-8, with seven of the 10 coming from McMichel. The Panthers held Radford to just one bucket in the last four and a half minutes to take a 20-10 lead into the second quarter.
HPU’s defense built on its strong performance in the last game, holding the Highlanders to shooting just 26.7% from the floor in the first. The Panthers picked up two blocks in the quarter, both from McNear, and capitalized on Radford’s mistakes, getting eight of their points directly off of Radford turnovers. High Point also attacked the glass in the first quarter, getting 12 rebounds to Radford’s nine.
Radford started the second quarter on a 5-0 run that was quickly erased thanks to a triple from Brown and a layup from McNear. After the Highlanders hit another layup the Panthers blew the game wide open, going on a 17-1 run with five straight triples. Sophomore Skyler Curran hit two in the run and she was joined by redshirt sophomore Danielle Deoul, Edwards and Brown.
The Highlanders stopped the run with a layup in the last two seconds but the Panthers got the last laugh as Deoul utilized a perfect euro step to get around the final defender and to the basket at the buzzer to make it 44-20 at the half.
It was High Point’s best half of basketball this season, with the Panthers shooting 56.7% from the floor and going 10-18 from beyond the arc. Similar to Saturday’s victory, HPU controlled the glass and spread its scoring out. High Point outrebounded Radford 23-16 in the first half and six different Panthers entered the break with at least five points to their names.
“We knew that today, if we were going to be happy after the game, we needed to have multiple people getting in there and getting a lot of rebounds. Amaria had seven defensive rebounds and five offensive rebounds, she was huge for us,” Banbury said of the freshman’s career game.
The second-half struggles that plagued the Panthers in the first two Big South games returned in this one, with High Point’s shooting going from 60% in the second quarter to 12.5% in the third. Radford doubled up HPU in scoring in the quarter, outscoring the Panthers 16-8 and ended the quarter on a 9-0 run and High Point’s lead cut to 52-36
Radford opened the final quarter with a 10-1 run, making it a 19-2 run stretching back to halfway through the third quarter. With the lead reduced to single digits for the first time since four minutes into the second quarter, Brown stepped up with a triple followed by a layup by Edwards to push the lead back to double digits at 58-46.
Despite only going 4-18 from three-point land after halftime, three-pointers kept the Panthers’ lead alive, with Deoul and classmate Zaria Wright connecting from deep on back-to-back possessions to keep Radford’s comeback just a dream and not a reality. The Highlanders had to foul while down six with under a minute left and Brown knocked down three of her four free throws, followed by one more from McNear to seal the deal with a 10-point victory, 68-58.
The three free throws from Brown pushed her to 990 points in her career, 10 shy of becoming the 13th Panther in the Division I era to score 1,000 points. Two points will move her into 13th place on High Point’s Division I scoring leaders list.
High Point only shot 22.2% in the second half but the performance in the first was enough to give HPU a 40.4% shooting percentage in the game, the first time this season the Panthers have shot above 40% in consecutive games. The Purple and White also had their second-best game from behind the arc, going 14-36, the second-most makes in a game this season and the second-best percentage, with Monday’s 38.9% trailing only Saturday’s 40.0% from deep.
High Point heads back on the road to complete its stretch of four games in eight days to start 2020, traveling to UNC Asheville for a Thursday night (Jan. 9) contest at 6 p.m., followed by a trip south to Charleston Southern Saturday afternoon (Jan. 11). The Panthers get the following mid-week game off before heading to Longwood on Jan. 18 and finally return to the Millis Center on Jan. 21 to host Presbyterian.