High Point WBB Suffers Setback in Regular Season Finale

Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: Longwood 85, High Point 69
Records: LW 13-10 (12-6 Big South), HPU 19-6 (17-3 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Monday, March 8, 2021 — vs. TBD, Big South Tournament Quarterfinals (Millis Center, High Point, N.C.), Time TBD

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Despite four players scoring in double digits for the 11th time this season, the High Point University women’s basketball team lost its final game of the regular season in an 85-69 decision to Longwood University Friday evening (Feb. 26). The loss snaps a 19-game winning streak against the Lancers dating back to the 2010-11 season and is High Point’s first conference loss to Longwood.

It’s the first time the Panthers have dropped a game this season when four players score in double digits, with junior Skyler Curran leading the way with 20 points for her 20th career 20-point game and 10th this season. Jenson Edwards and Jordan Edwards were right behind her with 15 each and Callie Scheier added 12 points from four triples for the fourth time this season. Almost all of HPU’s scoring was confined to those four as the quartet totaled all but seven of the Purple and White’s points in the contest.

High Point ends the regular season with a 19-6 record for a .760 winning percentage, currently the best in the Panthers’ Division I program history. Since High Point can only occur a maximum of two more losses this season – one in the Big South Tournament and one in a postseason tournament – the maximum of eight losses will be a program record for the fewest losses in a single season, as are the two road losses this year. The D1 program record for most wins in a season is still in reach, as three more would tie the mark of 22 set in the 2013-14 season and matched in the 2018-19 campaign.

HPU also set multiple program records in Big South action this year, with the 17 conference wins the most the Purple and White have won in the Big South and the three losses tied for the fewest – the fourth time High Point has lost only three conference contests. The Panthers also set the program record for best conference winning percentage at .850 and did the same for road games in the conference with nine wins setting a program benchmark, as did the .900 winning percentage away from home in the Big South this season.

Longwood’s game plan was to dominate the inside and the Lancers succeeded in that, outscoring High Point 55-22 in the paint. Longwood used its advantage inside to shoot 50.7% in the game, the highest shooting percentage HPU has allowed all season and the highest since Presbyterian shot 51.9% on Feb. 25 last season. The Lancers also cleaned the glass in the game, outrebounding the Purple and White 50-25 with 17 offensive rebounds, just the second time this season that the Panthers have given up 50 rebounds in a game after North Carolina grabbed 56 in the season-opener.

The scoring came much easier in the first quarter on Friday than it did in the first matchup between the two on Saturday, with each team scoring more than the combined total of the two in the opening 10 minutes from last night. High Point led by three, 26-23 after the opening frame, with Curran leading the way with eight points.

Jenson Edwards got the scoring started with a three from an inbound pass from Jordan Edwards, one of Jordan’s three assists on the first three Panther baskets. Curran hit a three on the next possession from Edwards and Claire Wyatt dropped in her only deep ball of the game a minute later to tie the game at nine, part of a five-point night for the freshman.

Neither team led by more than three the entire first quarter, with the lead changing hands nine times and sitting tied four times. Longwood had its final lead of the first at 21-20 with two minutes left in the quarter but Wyatt flipped it back to HPU with her final two points of the game on the next possession and Jenson Edwards and Curran each sank two free throws to put the Panthers up three heading into the second.

Curran had another strong showing in the second, hitting all three shots she took – all of which were from behind the arc – to give her 17 at the half. She hit her first just over two minutes in to give the Purple and White a five-point lead – their largest of the day – and then hit another a minute later to push the lead up to four, 34-30. The Lancers tied it up at 34 and then again at 36 before Curran sank her final shot of the half to restore a three-point lead. The lead didn’t last long as the visitors strung together seven straight to take a four-point lead before Chyna McMichel scored her only two points of the game and Jordan Edwards got inside on the break to even things up at halftime, 43-43.

Only the four Panthers in double digits scored the remainder of the way for HPU, with no more than three different players scoring in either quarter after the break. Scheier followed Curran’s lead from the second by going 3-3 from deep in the quarter to give her nine in the third and 12 on the day while Curran was held scoreless in the frame.

Longwood scored the first points of the second half but Jordan Edwards quickly tied it before the Lancers took the lead for good. It got to as many as nine in the third before Jenson Edwards stopped a nearly five-minute scoreless streak from the floor for the Purple and White with 90 seconds left in the frame. Scheier connected on her last shot of the game with just seconds showing to make it a four-point game heading into the fourth, 62-58.

In the final quarter, it was Scheier of the quartet held scoreless as Jenson, Jordan, and Curran combined for only 11 points on 15 shots in the final 10 minutes. On the other side, Longwood shot 53.3% in the frame and continued to build its lead until the final buzzer to take the 16-point, 85-69 decision, High Point’s worst loss since the 25-point defeat at UNC to open the season.

The Panthers are off until the quarterfinals of the Hercules Tires Big South Women’s Basketball Tournament on March 8 in the Millis Center, where No. 1-seeded High Point will face the winner of the No. 8 vs. No. 9 matchup, with the seeds still to be determined.