Site: High Point, N.C. (Qubein Center)
Score: High Point 66 (0-1), Elon 68 (1-0)
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The Panthers fell to Elon in heartbreaking fashion 66-68 in the first game of the regular season. The Panthers and the Phoenix engaged in a tremendous battle the entire night but lost when Elon hit two free throws with three seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Jenson Edwards got a great look to tie the game at the buzzer, but her shot just spun out the basket in an attempt to force overtime. For the game, Skyler Curran led the Panthers with 17 points, while Jaden Wrightsell scored 16 points for the Panthers.
Chelsea Banbury: T”hat’s a tough one, obviously it seems to hurt a little more when they are close. We did not finish well around the rim, took a lot of bad shots, our execution wasn’t great and that is what we will be working on. We just had a lot of empty possessions, left a lot of points out on the floor. The good news is we have a lot of room for improvement and those corrections can be made pretty quickly. Elon was tough, they got an offensive rebound at the end, she was fouled, and she knocked down her free-throws. It hurts but we have another one on Friday and we will come back and we will prepare for it, we will get better”
The Panthers jumped out to a quick 13-6 lead in the first quarter after a three pointer by Skyler Curran, which was followed by a driving layup from Jenson Edwards. The Panthers extended their lead to 18-10 after a driving layup from Callie Scheier. Elon went on a 5-2 run to end the quarter, but the Panthers still led 20-15.
A Wrightsell layup in the post gave the Panthers a 22-17 lead in the second quarter, but the Phoenix were able to score on back to back possessions to tie the game at 22. The teams battled back and forth for the remainder of the quarter before two late free throws gave the Phoenix a 33-32 lead heading into the break. The Panthers struggled from deep in the first half as they only went 1-8 from three-point range, however they were able to draw 14 fouls from Elon which led to 11 points from the charity stripe. Wrightsell was the leading scorer for the Panthers at the break with 9 points as well as drawing four of the fourteen fouls from Elon.
The Panthers came out firing in the third quarter and drilled five triples as they shot 83.3% from three during this quarter. The Panthers found themselves down 42-36, before a Curran triple brought them within three points. After a Jordan Edwards steal, Curran drilled another trifecta to tie the game. After another Elon miss, Nakyah Terrell drilled the Panthers third straight three to give them a 45-43 lead and force an Elon timeout. Elon took a 52-48 lead before Scheierdrilled the final 3-pointer of the quarter to draw the Panthers within one 51-52 at the end of three quarters.
The fourth quarter was an incredible back and forth affair with the Phoenix taking an early 58-53 lead. However, the Panthers responded with Scheier driving from the top of the key for a layup to cut the score to three. The Phoenix responded by taking their biggest lead of the game at 62-55, but the Panthers would continue to respond. Wrightsellburied a three and after an Elon miss, Curran drilled a deep three with a hand right in her face to cut the lead to 61-62. Two free throws by Claire Wyatt gave the Panthers a 63-62 lead. A driving layup by Wyatt gave the Panthers a 66-63 lead with 2:16 to go in the game. However, an Elon jumper tied the game with 1:05 to go and a foul on an offensive putback attempt by Elon with three seconds left allowed them to hit two free throws and take a 68-66 lead. An excellent driving attempt by Jenson Edwards just rimmed out and the Panthers fell to 0-1 on the young season.
The Panthers shot 44.4% from three-point range for the day and made eight triples for the game.
The Panthers are back in the Qubein Center on Friday, November 12th when they take on East Carolina at 7 p.m.