Site: Clinton, S.C. (Templeton Center)
Score: Presbyterian 65, High Point, 56
Records: PC 7-7 (6-6 Big South), HPU 12-5 (10-2 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Friday, January 29, 2021 — vs. Hampton (Millis Center, High Point, N.C.) 6 p.m.
CLINTON, S.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team suffered its first defeat since Dec. 19 on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 23), falling 65-56 to Presbyterian College. The loss snapped the Panthers’ 10-game winning streak, the longest streak in HPU’s Division I history.
Junior Skyler Curran was a bright spot for the Panthers, scoring 20+ points for the fourth straight game with a 21-point performance, including a 10-10 effort from the free-throw line. Curran made history as the 14th Panther in the team’s D1 history to reach the 1,000-point threshold after knocking down a three-pointer three minutes into the second quarter.
“I give Presbyterian credit, they played harder than us and made us uncomfortable,” head coach Chelsea Banbury said after the game. “Although I’m not happy with the outcome of our game I am really proud of Sky for reaching the milestone of 1,000 points. That’s a huge accomplishment in a career and it’s very impressive for her to have done it in her junior season.”
High Point had a quick start to the game, scoring the first six points as part of a 10-2 run in the opening eight minutes. Cydney Johnson got the scoring started with a nice euro to the basket a minute in and Jordan Edwards scored on the next possession after swiping the ball on the defensive end. Two minutes passed before the ball found the hoop again and it was Claire Wyatt scoring her first points of the day with a driving layup. Wyatt was the only other member of the Purple and White in double digits at the end of the day, scoring 10 for her fourth game of the last six in double digits.
Jordan Edwards pulled up at the stripe for her second bucket of the quarter a minute-and-a-half and Jenson Edwards found her way to the rim to make it 10-2 Panthers with just under four minutes left in the first. That was all the offense HPU had in the quarter as the Blue Hose defense held firm the rest of the first to keep the Purple and White off the board. Presbyterian heated up while the Panthers cooled off, ending the quarter on a 7-0 run to cut High Point’s lead to just one, 10-9 heading into the second.
PC continued its run into the second quarter, scoring a total of 12 points in a row to take a 14-10 lead before a pair of free throws from Curran two minutes in stopped the stretch. A minute later Curran made history, connecting from deep to give her five points on the day and over 1,000 in her career to become the 14th Panther in HPU’s Division I history to reach the milestone.
Curran’s shot pulled the Panthers within one but the Blue Hose made it a three-point game again on a second-chance layup. Curran once again had the answer for High Point and drove to the lane for two, starting a mini-run of six straight for the Purple and White to retake the lead. Zaria Wright followed Curran’s lead and drove to the lane on the next possession to give the Panthers the lead again and Wyatt extended it to three with a layup of her own.
The lead flipped twice more in the final three minutes of the half, turning back over to the Panthers when Wright found Jenson Edwards slashing to the basket with a beautiful no-look pass to put HPU up three with a minute remaining. The lead didn’t last for long as Presbyterian hit its third three-pointer of the game with 35 seconds left in the half to tie it up at 25 as the teams headed to the locker room.
High Point’s offense struggled in the third quarter, hitting only two shots from the floor. The Panthers stayed afloat thanks to excellent shooting from the free-throw line, going 8-8 from the stripe in the quarter. Presbyterian scored the first four points of the half to take a small lead but a pair of free throws each from Jenson Edwards and Curran knotted things back up.
Courtney Meadows found a lane to the rim to swing the lead back to HPU and a second-chance triple from Johnson gave the Panthers a five-point lead with 3:47 showing on the clock. Presbyterian heated up at that point, scoring the next nine straight to retake the lead with 90 seconds left in the third. High Point could only muster two more free throws from Jenson Edwards in the closing minute and headed to the fourth down two, 40-38.
Two more second-chance points from Johnson tied things up early in the fourth but the Blue Hose quickly retook the lead and pushed it up to five. The Panthers retook it on a deep ball from Curran but an 11-3 run gave the lead back to the hosts with just under two minutes remaining. High Point made it a two-possession game at 60-56 with 47 seconds left but couldn’t find the hoop the rest of the way and Presbyterian hit five more free throws to end HPU’s winning streak at 10, 65-56.
High Point will look to bounce back this weekend at the Millis Center when Hampton comes to town for a two-game set. The Panthers and Lady Pirates meet at 6 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 29) and close out the series at 4 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 30).