Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: High Point 60, Presbyterian 55
Records: HPU: 7-10 (5-3 Big South), PC: 5-12 (1-7 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Saturday, Jan. 25 — at Hampton (Hampton, Va.) 4 p.m.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – Sophomore Skyler Curran posted her third double-double of the season to lead the High Point University women’s basketball team to a victory over Presbyterian College on Tuesday night (Jan. 21) to make it three straight HPU victories. Her 23 points and career-high 13 rebounds led the Panthers in both categories, the eighth time she’s led the team in both categories, on a night when the offense struggled to get going, shooting just 28.8% from the floor.
“A win’s a win, so I’m happy with that. I told the team there’s not a description of this game next to our record,” head coach Chelsea Banbury said after the game. “Hats off to Presbyterian. Their defense is tough, they’re kind of untraditional in what they do and they made us work for every shot, throwing us out of what we wanted to do on offense. Skyler shot the ball well again today and we were able to make shots down the stretch do come out on top.”
Free throws played a key role throughout the game, with over a third of the Panthers’ points coming from the line. HPU’s 22 made free throws are tied for the most the Purple and White have made in a single game this season and their 28 attempts fall one attempt short of the season-high.
“We shoot 25 free throws at the end of practice, but we’re attacking the basket more so we’re getting more foul shots and the people getting to the foul line are good free throw shooters. I like that we’re scoring that way,” said Banbury of the team’s improved free throw shooting in recent games. “That’s a good way to get offense going – get to the basket and see if they can guard us. You’re either shooting free throws or layups and that’s a good way to score.”
It was a defensive battle in the first half, with High Point holding a slim 12-11 advantage after the first 10 minutes. Neither team shot the ball well, with both teams shooting under 30%. Ball control was an issue for both teams as well, combining for nine turnovers between the two.
Presbyterian shot slightly better in the second quarter but the Panthers regressed. Despite the bucket continuing to be sealed, the score was level at the break, 26-26. HPU’s shooting from the charity stripe helped the Panthers stay in the game, going 11-13 in the half including a 6-6 mark in the second quarter. Curran was the bright spot in the opening 20 for High Point, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds, almost half of the Purple and White’s 15 total rebounds in the half.
High Point was held scoreless in the first 3:25 of the second half, allowing the Blue Hose to build a seven-point lead, their largest of the game. The Panthers offense woke up after that, finishing out the quarter on a 17-3 run to take a 43-36 lead into the final quarter. Four different Panthers scored at lead three points during the run, led by Curran with six. Zaria Wright and Callie Scheier each connected from long range and Courtney Meadows dropped in three freebies from the free throw line.
Curran hit a triple on the first possession of the fourth to push the lead to double digits, her fifth of the night to make it two straight games she’s drilled at least five from deep. PC didn’t quit and fought back, going on an 11-2 run to cut High Point’s lead to just one point, 48-47.
That’s when senior Camryn Brown took over, scoring HPU’s next seven points, her only points of the night, to push the lead back up to seven points out of reach of a comeback from the visitors. Wright and Jenson Edwards combined to make three free throws down the stretch to keep the Blue Hose at bay, securing the Panthers’ third consecutive victory, 60-55.
The win keeps the Panthers perfect at home against Presbyterian all-time. High Point is 13-0 against the Blue Hose in the Millis Center and have now won four straight against PC
Wright finished with 15 points to make it two straight games she’s scored in double-digits. She was High Point’s most effective shooter from the stripe, going 7-8 on the night with her lone missing coming on the back end of two free throws from a Presbyterian technical foul late in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers have a tough test ahead of them this weekend, going back on the road to face Hampton on Saturday (Jan. 25). The Lady Pirates currently sit second in the Big South standings, one spot ahead of High Point and three other teams tied for third with a record of 5-3 in conference play. HPU stays on the road for one more game, traveling to Gardner-Webb next Tuesday (Jan. 28).