High Flying Offense Leads High Point WBB Past Highlanders

Site: Radford, Va. (Dedmon Center)
Score: High Point 103, Radford 73
Records: HPU 15-5 (13-2 Big South), RAD 5-9 (5-7 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Saturday, February 13, 2021 — at Radford (Radford, Va.) 2 p.m.

RADFORD, Va. – The High Point University women’s basketball team broke the 100-point threshold for the second time in the 2020-21 season on Friday afternoon (Feb. 12) with a 103-73 beatdown of Radford University in the second-largest margin of victory for HPU this season.

The Panthers used a 35-point first quarter to take a 20-point lead eight minutes into the game that never dipped below 20 points for the remainder of the contest. It’s only the third time HPU has scored 100 points in a Big South Conference game and this marks the second season in the past three that High Point has had multiple 100-point games.

Junior Skyler Curran led the way for the Panthers with 24 points, 17 of which came in the opening quarter. Right behind her was freshman Claire Wyatt with 20 for a career-high and her first 20-point game. A total of five Panthers scored in double digits on Friday, marking the second time this season that five players have scored in double figures. It’s the eighth time this year that at least four members of the Purple and White have hit double digits, all eight of which have been wins – with the average margin of victory in the eight games being 19.8 points.

“I’m very proud and impressed with how the team came out ready to play in the first quarter today,” head coach Chelsea Banbury said after the game. “Sky was exceptional in the opening minutes and the team fed off of it. Claire keeps getting better and had a really good game offensively as well. Defensively we need to clean some things up before we come back and play them again tomorrow.”

High Point shot 53.8% from the floor today while going 35-65, with the 35 makes tied for the most in a single game this season. It’s the fourth time the Panthers have shot over 50% in a game this season, an achievement that only happened once last season. HPU also shot lights out from deep on Friday, going 18-34 for a 52.9% shooting percentage from behind the arc. The 18 makes are tied for the third-most in program history and second-most this season and the 52.9% is the best percentage from deep so far this year.

The Purple and White not only filled the basket extremely well, but they also had their best game taking care of the ball, committing a season-low five turnovers in the contest. The five turnovers in Friday’s game are not just a season-low but also tied the program-record and are the fewest number of turnovers High Point has committed against a Division I opponent in program history. The Purple and White have only turned the ball over that few of times once before – in a 125-45 victory over Division III Emory & Henry on Nov. 16, 2008, that also holds the school record for most points HPU has scored in a single game.

High Point combined its ball control with deft distribution, totaling 20 assists as a team in the game. It’s the fifth time the Panthers have had 20 or more assists in a game this season and the ninth time HPU has accomplished that feat under Coach Banbury.

Saying the Panthers came out of the gate on fire could be considered an understatement as High Point outscored the Highlanders 35-9 in the opening quarter for the most points HPU has scored in a single quarter all season. The Purple and White did their damage with a barrage from behind the arc, going 8-8 as a team from three-point land in the opening 10 minutes.

Curran scored nearly half of High Point’s first-quarter points, dropping in all 17 of her first-half points in the opening frame, including four shots from behind the arc, to earn her the entire second quarter off.

Radford scored the game’s first two points but HPU responded with the next 14, capped off by three consecutive triples from Curran (twice) and Wyatt. High Point continued to stay hot from deep, scoring its next three baskets all from behind the arc, once again two from Curran and the third courtesy of Jordan Edwards. Curran got inside for two to break the three-point streak and start a 12-2 run for the Panthers to close out the quarter.

The second quarter was a defensive struggle compared to the first, with the two sides combining for just 30 points, 15 apiece. Freshman LaImani Simmons scored the first points of the quarter two-and-a-half minutes in, followed by a jumper from Wyatt two minutes later to give HPU a 30-point lead, 39-9. Wyatt led the team with seven points in the second to give her 12 in the half to become the second member of the Purple and White in double digits on the day. The Panthers held Radford off the board for over five minutes in the frame, finally allowing a Highlander jumper just over the halfway mark of the quarter.

Offense for both teams picked up in the latter half of the second but the defenses continued to shine, with High Point shooting just 35.3% in the quarter and Radford connecting at a 37.5% clip. HPU continued to shoot from behind the arc in the quarter but didn’t connect at the rate of the first, going 3-10 from downtown in the second. The Highlanders won the second half of the quarter, but the Panthers still held a commanding lead at the break, scoring 50 points in the first half for the second time this season and the first time in a conference game this campaign to lead 50-24 at the break.

Radford outscored HPU in the third quarter by one, but the Panthers’ lead never dipped below 20 points. Jordan Edwards scored High Point’s first five points of the second half to get her to double digits and Jenson Edwards sank a pair of free throws to get her first two points of the day. Curran checked back in for the third quarter and played all 10 minutes of it, scoring another seven points to get her to her total of 24. Cydney Johnson also crossed the double-digit mark in the third quarter to give the Panthers four scorers in double digits after three quarters of play and a 25-point lead, 74-49.

Wyatt got High Point’s offense going in the fourth quarter with her third triple of the game and hit her fourth four minutes into the stanza to give her 20 points on the day. Combined with Curran’s 24, it’s the second time this season that HPU has had two scorers with at least 20 points. The first was coincidentally the other time High Point scored 100 points, coming in the 108-71 victory over North Carolina Wesleyan on Dec. 9.

Sophomore Callie Scheier had a strong end to the game, going 3-3 from behind the arc in the fourth to finish the game with four triples and 12 points. It’s the second time she’s made four three-pointers in a game this season and the fourth time in her career. Courtney Meadows drove to the lane to get the Panthers to 99 points and a jumper in the paint from Simmons sent HPU over the 100-point mark for the second time this season and 11th time as a Division I program. Johnson sank two more free throws in the final minute of the game and put the bow on a 103-73 victory for just the 20th time High Point has won a Big South Conference matchup by 30 points.

HPU and Radford meet again in the Dedmon Center tomorrow afternoon (Feb. 13) at 2 p.m. for the Panthers’ final road game of the regular season. High Point finishes its schedule over the next two weekends with homestands against Hampton (Feb. 19-20) and Longwood (Feb. 25-26) before the start of the 2021 Hercules Tires Big South Women’s Basketball Tournament.