Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: High Point 89, UNC Asheville 62
Records: HPU 16-13 (14-6 Big South), AVL 15-14 (9-11 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Thursday, March 12 — vs. TBD (Radford, Va.) 8 p.m.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point University’s women’s basketball team capped off its regular season in just about the best way possible on Saturday afternoon (March 7), taking down UNC Asheville in an 89-62 blowout on Senior Day. Seniors Camryn Brown and Olivia VanSlooten were honored before the game for their time spent in the Purple and White, with both players appearing in over 100 games each over their careers as Panthers.
“Overall, I thought that, aside from the first four minutes of the game, our effort was excellent,” head coach Chelsea Banbury said following the win. “We focused a lot on ball-screen defense and rebounding. They have one of the best offensive rebounders in the league and we held her to one offensive rebound. It was another game that we had our guards in there rebounding; Cam had eight, Jenson had seven, they were in there battling and I couldn’t ask for more. Everybody gave a good effort – people hit shots and gave good effort defensively – this was a good team win. Cam got us going but everybody picked it up. I’m happy her and Liv got the win on Senior Day.”
High Point did not get out to the start it wanted, finding itself down 10-2 in the first five minutes of action. Redshirt freshman Jenson Edwards took over for the Panthers in the final half of the quarter, scoring seven of the Panthers’ next 14 points as part of a 14-6 run to tie the game up with just under two minutes left in the quarter. The Purple and White scored the final seven points of the first and 16 of the last 20 on the way to take the lead for good, ending the first up 21-16.
Brown scored HPU’s final five points of the first quarter and stayed hot in the second, dropping in 10 points to lead the team with 15 at the half. Sophomore Skyler Curran started the quarter off with a three-pointer on High Point’s first possession of the second and Brown connected inside on a layup to extend the Panthers’ run to 14 straight points and push the lead to double-digits, 26-16.
Edwards and Brown connected from range on consecutive possessions to restore the lead to double digits after Asheville answered. Brown hit another triple with just under three minutes left in the half to give the Purple and White their largest lead of the half at 17 points, 39-22. The Bulldogs chipped away in the last 170 seconds, scoring the final seven points of the half to cut HPU’s lead back down to just 10 points, 39-29.
The trio of Brown, Curran, and Edwards were the only Panthers to get on the scoresheet in the first half, scoring all 39 of the team’s points. They also took almost all of HPU’s shots in the first 20 minutes, combining to take 25 of the Panthers’ 28 attempts in the half while sinking 13 of them for a 52% shooting percentage among the three players.
Brown continued to have the hot hand in the third, scoring eight more to bring her total up to 23 through three quarters. VanSlooten got to the line 10 seconds into the half and sank a free throw, followed by Brown and Edwards hitting back-to-back shots from behind the arc to bring the lead back up to 15, 46-31.
After five more points from Brown, freshman Callie Scheier found the hoop for the first time in the game, connecting from deep with just under five to go in the quarter. Redshirt freshman Zaria Wright followed suit on the next possession to give High Point its largest lead of the quarter at 19 points, 57-38. Scheier hit one more from downtown before the quarter was over and Edwards and Curran scored the final three points of the third to give the Panthers a 65-46 lead heading into the fourth.
HPU’s lead crossed the 20-point mark 11 seconds into the final quarter when Brown knocked down her fifth and final triple of the contest. Redshirt sophomore Danielle Deoul and Curran hit threes on consecutive possessions to push the difference to 27 points before the Bulldogs fought back a bit.
Brown made one more layup with just over three minutes left in the game before she was subbed out with 2:01 on the clock, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd in the Millis Center. VanSlooten sent the building into an even bigger frenzy 30 seconds later, hitting a triple in front of the Panther bench before leaving to a standing ovation of her own with 1:10 left in the game.
Deoul hit one more triple for HPU before the game was over to push the lead to 29 but Asheville countered with a mid-range jumper for the final points of the game, ending in an 89-62 victory for the Panthers.
High Point saved one of its best games for last, shooting a season-high 50.8% from the floor in the win. It marks the first time this season the Panthers have shot over 50% in a game and is HPU’s best shooting percentage since shooting 54.7% vs. Longwood on Feb. 26 last season.
Not only did the Purple and White have their best game shooting, but they also took care of the ball well, committing only seven turnovers during the game, the fewest this season and fewest since only committing six against the Bulldogs during the 2017-18 season. HPU also won the rebounding battle with Asheville, outrebounding the Big South’s best rebounding team by three and holding one of the best offensive-rebounding teams in the country to just six offensive rebounds, a number that the Panthers matched in the game.
High Point is now off until Thursday (March 12) in the quarterfinals of the Hercules Tires 2020 Big South Women’s Basketball Tournament. HPU enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed, tying with Hampton’s record of 14-6 in the Big South but winning the tiebreaker due to sweeping the Lady Pirates during the season.
High Point will head to No. 2 seed Radford for the quarterfinals and semifinals and will play the winner of the #6 vs. #11 matchup. That game just happens to feature the Purple and White’s last two opponents, as UNC Asheville earned the No. 6 seed and Charleston Southern enters as the No. 11 seed. The Panthers will play the winner on Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Dedmon Center in Radford, with the winner advancing the semifinals on Friday, also at 8 p.m.