HPU women open against Newberry
Having beaten one team from the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Conference handily in an exhibition game, the High Point University women’s basketball team opens its regular season against another SAC squad today at the Millis Center (2 p.m.).
The Panthers face Newberry College, the preseason pick to win the league championship by its coaches after going 20-10 last season. That’s four spots above the Catawba team that HPU defeated 93-64 on Monday after trailing early.
“Getting those first game jitters out of the way was a big part of it,” said HPU center Stacia Robertson of the slow start. “Taking was huge part. The more we talked in the second half, we played better together. The energy wasn’t there the first half. But it in the second half, we came out with more energy. People were talking more and were up.”
The game will count in the standings for HPU but will be an exhibition game for Newberry.
“We’re definitely a work in progress,” HPU coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “We need to clean up our offense and on defense, we didn’t adjust well to the new rules on handchecking. I understand the reason for the rule and we need to make that adjustment.
“But in the second half we refocused and were able to bring our energy up.”
The Wolves are led by center Haylee Lepaio, an honorable mention All-America center last season who averaged a SAC-leading 18.1 points per game and also grabbed an average of nine rebounds. Newberry has one other double-figurer scorer back — Samantha Creed, a junior guard from Australia who averaged 15.6 points last season.