HPU women collar Bulldogs
For a half, neither team played particularly well. The High Point University women, however, recovered in the second half to play well and pull away from UNC Asheville for a 49-35 win Thursday in the Millis Center.
“A win is a win at this point,” coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “End of the season, grinding it out.”
The Panthers (15-9, 9-4 Big South), who came in tied for third and trailing first-place Liberty by two games, doubled up the Bulldogs (2-23, 0-14 Big South) in the second half, 34-16, thanks to a strong start to the half to seal the outcome.
Trailing 19-15 after a dodgy first half chock-full of missed shots, turnovers and fouls, High Point opened the half on a 28-5 run, including 11 straight to open the run and 13 straight to close it, to lead 43-24 with 7:05 left. It shot 54.5 percent in the second half.
“It was basically us getting chumped out in the locker room,” junior forward Cheyenne Parker said. “We were told we needed stop playing with this team and that we were getting outworked. We just had to respond and thankfully we did.
“We just came out kind of dead and I guess underestimating our opponent, being they were 2-22, 0-13 in the conference. We came out expecting to just walk over them and not put forth effort. Once we did that, though, it wasn’t a problem.”
Parker finished with 13 points (11 in the second half) and 17 rebounds for her 20th double-double of the season while Lexi Patterson, starting in place of injured Kendra Wallace, scored in double figures for the third straight game with 10 points.
Kelli Riles had 12 points and 11 rebounds while Paige Love added 11 points to lead Asheville, which played all five starters for 33 minutes or more and three for the entire game. It shot 25 percent for the game, including 18.5 percent in the second half.
The biggest improvement for the Panthers, who won their third straight, in the second half was simply putting forth the effort that has allowed them to be successful this season, said Hendrix, who also highlighted Lindsay Puckett stepping up in the second half.
“If you don’t work, then suddenly you’re doubting shots — and we couldn’t hit shots — and thinking about the wrong thing,” she said. “So, we just talked about going 100 percent all the time.”
High Point plays again Saturday at home against Winthrop at 3:30 p.m.