HPU women face Catawba in exhibition
The High Point University women’s basketball team will have a much different look for its public debut tonight in an exhibition game against Division II Catawba at the Millis Center.
Panther coach DeUnna Hendrix has changed offensive and defensive sets after parting ways with last year’s leading rebounder and scorer Cheyenne Parker, a shot-blocking center who was first-team All-Big South and was the conference’s defensive player of the year.
“We’re going to emphasize defense and rebounding,” Hendrix said. “We’ve got to get ready for conference play. Liberty has won it for years and to beat them, you must have good rebounding and defense.”
The Panthers return seven players from last season and have some key newcomers. Hendrix expects to start three of the returning players — junior center Stacia Robertson, senior point guard Tayler Tremblay and junior wing Lindsay Puckett.
“We’re not great at anything so far but we’re good at everything,” Hendrix said. “They’re still finding their identity.”
Hendrix posted a 17-12 mark last year in her first season as head coach.
“For the first time, all 12 players have bought in to what we’re trying to do,” Hendrix said. “There is a much better chemistry.”
Catawba is picked to finish fourth in the South Atlantic Conference by the league’s coaches. The coaches also picked two Indians to the preseason all-conference team. They are Chloe Bully, who was the Indians’ leading scorer last season with a 14.9 points per game average, and Antoinette McPhail, who led the team in rebounding with 8.4 per game and also averaged 11.3 points.
Bully is a 5-8 forward from Belgium. McPhail is a 6-3 center from Timmonsville, S.C.
“On paper, we should have the advantage,” Hendrix said. “But, we know they are going to give it all they have.”