HPU WBB Panthers Make it Seven Straight with Sweep at Winthrop

Site: Rock Hill, S.C. (Winthrop Coliseum)
Score: High Point 58, Winthrop 41
Records: HPU 9-4 (7-1 Big South), WU 2-7 (1-5 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Friday, January 22, 2021 — at Presbyterian (Clinton, S.C.) 6 p.m.

ROCK HILL, S.C. – The winning streak extended to seven games for the High Point University women’s basketball team Sunday evening (Jan. 10), behind an 18-point performance from junior Skyler Curran in a 58-41 victory over Winthrop University.

The winning streak of seven is tied for the fourth-longest streak in program history and is just two games shy of matching the program record of nine straight victories that has been done twice, most recently during the 2011-12 season. High Point has also now won its last seven Big South contests on the road dating back to last season, tied for the second-longest such streak in program history and one away from matching the program record, set over the course of the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.

“I think it was pretty obvious that we were tired out there. We’ve had a long stretch with six games in 12 days so we definitely feel fortunate to get out of here with a win,” head coach Chelsea Banbury said after her team’s third-straight weekend sweep. “Winthrop had a ton of energy and challenged us throughout the game but we made some plays down the stretch and I’m happy to finish this six-game run with another victory.”

Winthrop held the advantage after the first quarter of play, despite being outshot by High Point 45.5% to 38.5%. The Eagles opened an 8-2 lead in the first four minutes but the Panthers cut the deficit to one thanks to a nice backdoor cut from freshman Claire Wyatt that allowed Cydney Johnson to find her, followed by a triple from Johnson.

HPU tied it up with just under three minutes left in the frame on a deep ball from sophomore Callie Scheier and then Johnson burned the Winthrop defense and took it to the rim to give the Purple and White their first lead of the day, 13-11, with just over two minutes left in the quarter. The Eagles scored the final points of the quarter with 30 seconds showing, knocking down their third three-pointer of the quarter to take a 14-13 lead into the second.

Both teams’ shooting percentages declined in the second quarter, with the Panthers shooting 36.4% to Winthrop’s 21.4%, the second-lowest shooting percentage HPU has allowed in the second quarter all season. Curran flipped the lead to High Point with a triple on the first possession of the quarter and then stretched the lead to four with a pair of free throws a minute in. The Eagles tied it up after back-to-back buckets but Curran was there again with another three to regain the lead for the Purple and White with just under six minutes left in the half.

It took two minutes for another point to be scored when Winthrop found the hoop to make it a one-point game, 21-20 with four minutes showing on the clock. The Panthers responded with a 9-0 run to close out the quarter and head to the locker room with a 10-point, 30-20 lead. Wyatt got the run started with her first three-pointer of the game, followed by four free throws from redshirt sophomore Jenson Edwards, with a floater from junior Jordan Edwards sandwiched in between Jenson’s trips to the line.

Similar to yesterday it took the Panthers a while to see the ball fall in the second half. Redshirt sophomore Courtney Meadows connected from the free throw line halfway through the quarter for High Point’s first point of the half. The shooting struggles weren’t limited to the Purple and White to begin the third, with Winthrop only going 2-9 from the floor in the first five minutes, cutting the HPU lead to six, 31-25, at the media timeout.

The lead dipped to as few as four before the lid came off the Panther basket, and it came off in a big way with High Point ending the third on an 11-2 run to take a 42-29 lead into the fourth. Jenson Edwards started the run with a drive to the basket, getting the hoop and the harm and sinking her free throw. Graduate student Miya Bull then stepped up to the line and knocked down a pair before stuffing a shot at the other end and connecting from deep two possessions later. Curran picked up the final points of the run with a triple of her own, putting her into double-digits with 11.

High Point kept the pressure up at the start of the third, extending its lead to 15, 46-31, just over two minutes into the quarter and forcing Winthrop to take a timeout. The timeout worked, as the Eagles kept the Panthers scoreless for over four minutes, cutting the lead to 11 points with just under four minutes to play.

Curran was once again there to spark a run, driving for a layup and then knocking down another three-pointer to run the lead up to 16, 51-35. HPU finished out the game on a 7-3 run to win by 17, 58-41, sparked by a gritty three-point play from Jenson Edwards that brought the bench to its feet.

Sunday was the second consecutive game the Panthers held their opponent to 41 points, tied for the second-fewest points allowed in two consecutive games in program history. The Purple and White also held Winthrop to shooting under 30% for the second straight game, the first time that’s happened since late in the 2018-19 season.

High Point is scheduled for the bye in Big South action this week, with the next games on the Purple and White’s schedule occurring back in South Carolina when the Panthers take a trip to Presbyterian on Jan. 22-23.