Panthers clobber Camels
Not happy with a three-game losing streak, members of the High Point University women’s basketball team held a meeting on Tuesday.
“We tried to figure out why we couldn’t buy a win,” Panthers junior center Cheyenne Parker said. “Basically, it got down to finding ourselves and coming together as a unit. We got to back to having fun, that we’re here to fun and not just play basketball.
“Feelings were hurt and it got emotional, but it made a lot of difference tonight.”
They had all the fun, jumping on Campbell from the start and rolling to a 79-57 victory over Campbell and ruining the homecomings of Tonisha Baker, Zena Lovette and Jessica Pone – High Point residents who play for the Camels.
The Panthers improved to 16-12 and 10-7 in the Big South. They also locked up a spot in the 4/5 game in the opening round of the league tournament next week against Campbell, which fell to 19-10, 11-7.
“Everybody hits the wall at some point in the season,” HPU coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “It’s a long season and a grind and everyone gets tired of each other, plus you have the wear and tear and everything. At some point, you’ve got to come out of it.”
With the combination of pesky defense that kept turning turnovers into transition baskets and going inside to Parker and Stacia Robertson, the Panthers weren’t seriously challenged after opening a 22-9 lead after eight minutes. The Panthers forced at least seven turnovers and Parker scored 10 points during the run.
“We just got after it,” Parker said after leading the Panthers with 24 points. “We had a whole different mentality tonight.”
They got after it enough to force 23 turnovers that resulted in 28 points. On the flip side, the Panthers committed just 11 turnovers, five of them in the last 10 minutes.
“Campbell is a very disciplined team so for us to force them into the many turnovers is something,” Hendrix said.
Tayler Tremblay added 20 points and Robertson had 15 as the Panthers shot just under 50 percent from the field.
Robertson helped lead the defensive charge with six steals while Lindsay Puckett had four. Parker had four blocks, the first breaking her single-season and conference school record of 121, and also recorded three steals and seven rebounds. Robertson also had seven assists.
“They were hitting a lot of shots,” Baker said. “They were on their ‘A' game tonight and it’s tough to beat a team on its home court if they bring their ‘A’ game.’
Baker, the former T. Wingate Andrews standout, led the Camels with 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. Kiera Gaines had 15 with Jessica Moore adding 13. Lovette had four rebounds and Pone saw action in the last couple of minutes.
“I wouldn’t say it was disappointing for me,” Baker said. “I had a great time playing in front of my family and friends. It almost felt like a home game. It was unfortunate that we didn’t come out with a win but we just have to move forward.”