Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: Gardner-Webb 62, High Point 46
Records: GWU (14-10, 9-6 Big South), HPU (11-13, 9-6 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Saturday, Feb. 22 — at Radford (Radford, Va.), 2 p.m.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team lost its second-straight game at the Millis Center on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 15), falling to Gardner-Webb University 62-46. Junior Chyna McMichel returned to the starting lineup and made her presence felt on the glass, grabbing double-digit rebounds for the first time in her career, finishing the game with 11.
“Hats off to Gardner-Webb. They outplayed us in just about every aspect of the game,” head coach Chelsea Banbury said following the loss. “They played tougher than us, they played harder than us, they got physical to see if we could handle it and we couldn’t do a good job of handling it.”
The Panthers opened the game with a steal and in transition freshman Courtney Meadows drove to the basket to get the game’s opening points. Senior Camryn Brown hit a three that gave HPU an early 5-4 lead, but Gardner-Webb responded, what became somewhat of a theme anytime HPU went on a run. The visitors went on a 13-3 run to open up a ten-point, 17-7 lead that they never relinquished. The Panthers got the final three points of the quarter on a layup from redshirt sophomore Zaria Wright and a free throw from Brown, but entered the second quarter down seven.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs pushed the lead back up to double digits and took its largest lead of the half with 5:02 showing on the clock, up 12, 27-15. Freshman Callie Scheier hit a triple 50 seconds later and followed it up with another one a minute later for her only six points of the half. Brown converted inside to make it a two-possession game, 29-23, but GWU scored the final points of the half with just over a minute showing on the clock to lead 31-23 at the break.
Meadows knocked down two quick jumpers to start the second half and cut the deficit to four but Gardner-Webb answered right back with five straight to push the lead back up to nine. The Panthers pulled within reach again, this time trailing by five but GWU once again had an answer, rattling off eight straight to lead by 13. HPU cut the deficit by one before the quarter entered, but still headed to the fourth trailing by double digits, 47-35.
Scoring was scarce for both sides to start the final quarter, with almost half the quarter elapsing until the first field goal was made, a triple from the visitors that turned into a four-point play after the shooter was fouled. The Runnin’ Bulldogs turned that into a run of 10 straight before Brown knocked down a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to under 20, 58-39.
Sophomore Skyler Curran got out on the break and converted a layup with 1:33 left in the game, High Point’s first field goal of the fourth quarter. Curran scored the Panthers’ final seven points of the game but it was too little, too late as Gardner-Webb held on for the 16-point victory, 62-46.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs showed why they have one of the best three-point defenses in the country, holding HPU to shooting just 14.3% from behind the arc. GWU’s lockdown defense from deep was especially evident in the second half, not allowing High Point to hit a single shot from three-point land, missing all 11 attempts.
The Panthers have the midweek bye this week and are back in action next Saturday (Feb. 22) when the Purple and White travel to Radford. HPU will stay on the road the following Tuesday (Feb. 25) for its final road game of the regular season before returning home to close out the season with three games at the Millis Center.