HPU women visit Winthrop for key clash
Over the past couple of weeks, High Point University women’s basketball coach DeUnna Hendrix refrained from talking about tonight’s road rematch with Winthrop, a contest that has turned into a battle of teams tied for first place in the Big South Conference.
“People wanted to know what I thought about it,” Hendrix said. “But I stuck to our philosophy of not looking ahead at the big picture, taking things day-to-day and game-to-game. Now that it is the next game, we can think about it.”
Hendrix will be thinking about facing a team led by senior point guard Dequesha McClanahan. a two-time Big South player of the year and finalist for the Nancy Lieberman award, and three other double-figure scorers — post players Erica Williams and Schaquilla Nunn plus junior guard Samiya Wright.
McClanahan averages 16.8 points, 6.8 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game. Williams has a 15.2 scoring average and grabs eight rebounds per game. Nunn’s numbers are 11.9 points and 10.9 rebounds per game and Wright averages 10 points per game.
“They have a number of great players, but we think we give them the same problem with Kaylah Keys and Stacia Robertson and Latrice Phelps,” Hendrix said.
Both teams are 14-4 in the league. Winthrop (20-7) dominated the Panthers (18-9) in December, building as much as an 18-point lead on the way to a 79-72 victory.
Hendrix also hopes that the Panthers, who have won 10 of their last 11, can exploit the Eagles lack of depth.
“They usually go only 6 or 7 deep,” Hendrix said. “So we’ll play at our pace, stay up-tempo and try to wear them down.”
Defensively, Hendrix plans to use a variety of options and will try to press McClanahan.
“She sees the whole court so well,” Hendrix said. “I think some teams are afraid to press her. But, I think it is better to try to press her and prevent her from seeing all of the court clearly.”
The player that Hendrix is most concerned about is Wright.
“She is the X-factor,” Hendrix said. “You have McClanahan of course, and people talk about Williams and Nunn and how they can score in the paint, but I’m most concerned about Wright. She is one of those players who could drop 20 or 25 on you if you don’t stay on her.”
Hendrix expects the Eagles to play a zone defense.
“We have to attack it,” Hendrix said. “A lot of teams try to just shoot over it. But we always talk about attacking inside and out and that is what we need to do. We’re going to try to find the open spaces in the middle of it, and if a shot isn’t available, then kick it out to our shooters, whether it is Kaylah or Teddy Vincent or someone else.”