Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: High Point 67, Hampton 66
Records: HPU 18-5 (16-2 Big South), HU 4-11 (4-9 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Thursday, February 25, 2021 — vs. Longwood (Millis Center, High Point, N.C.), 6 p.m.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s basketball team was able to fend off a fourth-quarter comeback from Hampton University in a 67-66 victory Saturday afternoon (Feb. 20) in the Millis Center.
Junior Skyler Curran led the team with 20 points and hit the game-tying and game-winning free throws with five seconds showing on the clock to secure the win for the Panthers. It’s the first time HPU has won a game in the final five seconds since Camryn Brown hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to defeat Presbyterian in the Big South Tournament on March 9, 2018, and just the second time the Purple and White have won a game that late in the last five years.
Redshirt sophomore Courtney Meadows followed up her five-assist performance yesterday with a career day in scoring on Saturday, dropping in 18 points to go with a season-high four rebounds. Jenson Edwards was the only other Panther in double digits with 14, going 5-5 from the free-throw line to go a perfect 12-12 from the stripe in the two games against the Lady Pirates.
“We were fortunate to get out of here with a win. I honestly think Hampton deserved to win today,” head coach Chelsea Banbury said after the game. “They were tougher than we were and they attacked us but fortunately we were able to make enough plays down the stretch to come away with a win. Hats off to Hampton. [Nylah] Young killed us inside. We tried to help off of her and she was able to find the open teammate outside. I give a lot of credit to Hampton. They played well, but fortunately we came away with the win.”
High Point’s defense had another strong start against Hampton, holding the Lady Pirates to just two field goals on 14 attempts in the opening frame for a 14.3% shooting percentage – the lowest an opponent has shot against HPU in the first quarter all season. Edwards got the party started with a three and Hampton responded with one of its two buckets in the first a minute later. The Lady Pirates’ second and final shot from the floor dropped less than five minutes in and the Panthers held Hampton scoreless, save for free throws, the rest of the way.
HPU held a five-point after Hampton’s final make from the floor and watched it slowly slip to just one point after four straight Lady Pirate free throws before Meadows got her first point of the game to make it 11-9. Hampton only hit one more free throw the rest of the quarter and Meadows added five more to give High Point a 16-10 lead after one.
Meadows scored four more points early in the second to get to 10 points on the day and pushed the Panthers’ lead to 10 as well. Meadows added three more after that to make it seven straight for the Harrisburg, N.C. native and get the lead back up to 10. Hampton hit a three to cut it to single digits again but freshman Claire Wyatt answered from behind the arc on the next possession to restore the 10-point lead at halftime, 28-18, as neither team could find any offense in the final two-and-a-half minutes.
After not playing at all in the second quarter, Curran came out hot in the third, hitting a three nine seconds into the half and then hitting another 90 seconds later to give the Panthers a 16-point lead. Hampton was able to cut the lead back down to 10 midway through the quarter but HPU scored nine of the next 11 to take its largest lead of the day at 17 points, 45-28, with just over three minutes to go in the third. The Lady Pirates went on a small 7-2 run after that to cut the lead to 12 but Callie Scheier hit her only three of the game in the final minute of the third on a feed from Meadows to give the Purple and White a 50-35 lead heading into the fourth.
High Point’s offense had a slow start in the fourth quarter, only making three shots in the first five minutes of the frame. The Lady Pirates continued to fill it up during that time, outscoring HPU 11-5 in the first four minutes of the fourth to cut the lead back down to single digits, 55-46. Curran scored a quick layup after that to get the lead back to 11 but Hampton erased the lead completely by scoring the next 11 to tie the game for the first time since the opening tip.
The teams traded free throws to keep things tied but then Hampton connected from beyond the arc to take its first lead of the day, 63-62. Edwards converted on a three-point play to flip the lead back to High Point but then so did the Lady Pirates with 12 seconds left to take it right back.
The Panthers needed one point to tie and gave the ball to Curran, who was fouled going up for a shot with five seconds on the clock. The Big South free throw leader didn’t seem fazed by the pressure and sank them both to give the Purple and White the lead for good. Hampton used its final timeout to advance the ball to the frontcourt on the inbound and had an open look at a three for the win that bounced off the front iron and out to give HPU the 67-66 win.
High Point concludes its regular season of play next week when Longwood comes to town for a pair of games. Both games will begin at 6 p.m. and Thursday (Feb. 25) will be senior night, where Miya Bull, Chyna McMichel, and Zaria Wright will be honored before tip.