HPU WBB Panthers Sink Pirates in Return to Millis

Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: High Point 79, Hampton 55
Records: HPU 17-5 (15-2 Big South), HU 4-10 (4-8 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Saturday, February 20, 2021 — vs. Hampton (Millis Center, High Point, N.C.), 2 p.m.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Led by redshirt sophomore Jenson Edwards with a career-high 22 points, the High Point University women’s basketball team won its fifth game in a row with a 79-55 victory over Hampton University Friday afternoon (Feb. 19). It was the first game back at home in the Millis Center for HPU in 34 days, ending the third-longest stretch of days between home games in a single season in program history.

A total of four Panthers scored in double digits, making it nine such games on the season for the Purple and White – all nine of which HPU has come out victorious. High Point has largely dominated the games the offense is spread out in, winning by an average of 18.8 points in the nine games.

Junior Skyler Curran was second in scoring with 16 points, followed by sophomore Callie Scheier with 14 after returning to the starting lineup for the first time in nine games. Curran nearly recorded her fifth double-double of the season, grabbing nine rebounds to lead the team. Curran was also honored before the game in a ceremony commemorating scoring her 1,000th career point on Jan. 23. She now has 1,110 points in her career, 10 shy of moving into ninth place on HPU’s Division I scoring list.

Freshman Claire Wyatt continued her torrid start to the month of February, notching her fifth game in double digits of the last six after scoring 13 points. Redshirt sophomore Courtney Meadows had a strong game distributing the ball, dishing out a season-high five assists to lead the team and finish one shy of her career-best.

“I’m happy that we got a win but I think we were a little sloppy in some areas defensively at points,” head coach Chelsea Banbury said after the win. “Hampton was attacking the basket and we didn’t do a great job of guarding without fouling them. We did make a run in the second quarter and a little bit in the third quarter to extend our lead and make plays and we were able to come out with a win. Jenson was excellent for us. It was nice to see her get back to her attacking self. She had great minutes while she was in there, looking for her opportunity to attack and was able to get to the foul line and finish some tough shots.”

The Panthers scored the first six points of the game, forcing Hampton to take an early timeout. Edwards got right to it, dropping in two free throws and pulling up in the paint for the first four, followed by a runner from Curran after a Lady Pirate turnover. Hampton found the hoop from the floor two times in a row after that to get on the board but HPU answered with an 11-2 run to take a double-digit lead, 17-6. Hampton converted a three-point play with 30 seconds left to cut the lead to eight and Meadows hit a free throw in the final seconds of the quarter to give High Point an 18-9 lead at the end of one.

HPU’s defense put the clamps on early in the second quarter, holding the Lady Pirates without a field goal for over five minutes of the frame. High Point used the Hampton dry spell to build a 20-point lead, opening the quarter on a 12-0 run. Curran, Wyatt, and Edwards each scored in the first two minutes of the second and then Curran and Scheier hit back-to-back threes on consecutive possessions to give the Panthers a 30-9 lead four minutes into the period.

Hampton finally got on the board in the second with a pair of free throws and then hit from the floor on its next possession. The Lady Pirates cut the lead to 16 after some more free throws and another bucket, but only connected once more as High Point ended the half on a 9-2 run, with Edwards scoring the final four points before the break to give the Purple and White a 41-18 lead at halftime. Edwards almost single-handedly outscored the visitors in the first half, ending with 15 points at the break to go along with four rebounds while only missing a minute of action on the court.

High Point’s defense was stingy in the first half, allowing just six Hampton shots from the floor to fall for an 18.8% shooting percentage in the first 20 minutes. The Lady Pirates made three shots in each quarter in the first half and threw up 20 shots in the second quarter to shoot 15% in the second stanza, the lowest any opponent has shot against HPU in the second quarter all season.

The second half was a much closer affair, with High Point only outscoring Hampton by one in the entire half. The one-point difference came in the third quarter, with HPU outscoring the Lady Pirates 20-19 coming out of the break. Curran scored four quick points to start the half and Edwards knocked down a mid-range jumper to give High Point its largest lead of the game at 27 points, 47-20.

Hampton got its offense going after that point, going on a 7-2 run to cut the lead to 22. Edwards stopped the run, getting the hoop and the harm midway through the third, and converted the free throw for the three-point play in what ended up being her final points of the day.

High Point only made two shots from the floor the rest of the way in the third, with Meadows pulling up in the paint and Scheier hitting her third triple of the game. Scheier connected on a pair of free throws later in the quarter, as did Wyatt in the final minute to get the lead back up to 27. It didn’t end the third at 27 as Hampton knocked down its only triple of the game with 10 seconds left in the quarter to cut HPU’s lead down to 24, 61-37, heading into the fourth.

Meadows got the scoring started in the fourth on High Point’s first possession but the offense went cold after that, taking more than three minutes to find the bucket again. The Lady Pirates scored seven straight in that span to get the lead under 20 points at 63-44. Wyatt hit a free throw to stop the run and get the lead back to 20, where it hovered for the next four minutes.

Freshman Teegan Pifher put the lead back above 20 on her second bucket of the day with 2:18 left on the clock and it stayed in the 20s for the remainder of the contest. Miya Bull got inside on the break for her first basket of the day and Scheier hit her fourth triple on the next possession to score High Point’s final points of the game in the 79-55 victory.

HPU’s strong defensive showing in the first was enough to hold Hampton to just a 28.1% shooting percentage over the entire game, tied for the second-lowest shooting percentage any opponent has had against the Purple and White this season. The Lady Pirates did go to the stripe quite a bit in Friday’s game, connecting on 22 of their 31 shots from the foul line to get 40% of their points from free throws.

High Point and Hampton will meet again tomorrow afternoon (Feb. 20) at 2 p.m. in the Millis Center before the Panthers finish out their regular season next week when Longwood comes to town on Thursday (Feb. 25) and Friday (Feb. 26).