HPU women overwhelm Longwood
The High Point University women came in with a plan against Longwood to use their size to their advantage, and they executed it very well in a key game atop the Big South Conference standings.
The Panthers scored 46 points in the paint, behind strong games by Stacia Robertson and Cheyenne Parker, to steadily pull away from the small-but-quick Lancers for an 83-66 win Thursday in the Millis Center.
“Honestly, they’re small, and from the start we knew we’d have the size advantage,” HPU coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “They’re throwing two or three kids at them. Stacia and Chey are just significantly taller and more powerful. So, it didn’t matter.
“Having those key kids hit some outside shots early, it opens it back up. So, it’s understanding that part of it — let’s go outside to go in and sometimes inside to go out. … When we can get that third or fourth double-digit scorer, it helps.”
Robertson scored a career-high 28 points, making 10 of 15 from the field and 8 of 8 from the free-throw line, while also grabbing nine rebounds (six on the offensive glass). Parker, a former Southwest Guilford standout, added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“Chey and I have our good games, but it all feeds off the guards,” said Robertson, a redshirt sophomore forward. “We’ve been working on post passes at practice. Now they’re getting really good at feeding us. We have to credit them because, without them, we wouldn’t have our game. ...
“I think it’s just getting back into the flow of basketball,” she said of her string of good games since late December. “Before this year, I hadn’t played for a whole year. So, I’m kind of getting back in the mix of things. I’ve kind of got my groove going now.”
Parker, who came into the game with the nation’s most blocks and second-most rebounds, also had seven blocks and six assists. And, at the 17:51 mark of the second half, she hit a free throw to become the 16th High Point player to reach 1,000 points in her career.
Tayler Tremblay also scored 19 points and dished six assists for the Panthers(12-7, 6-2 Big South), who came into Thursday’s game as one of five teams within one game of the conference-leading Lancers (9-10, 6-2) and have now won seven of their last eight.
High Point steadily built a 10-point lead before going into halftime up 45-37 and then scored the first five points of the second half to lead by 13. The Lancers got as close as four with 11:14 left, but the Panthers rebuilt their double-digit lead and held it the entire final 8 ½ minutes.
“We just talk about the first four minutes of the second half setting the tone,” Hendrix said. “We play in four-minute games at that point. It’s winning every media (timeout). I think they took ownership of that tonight.”
Daeisha Brown scored 29 points while Chelsea Coward followed with nine to lead Longwood, which was without leading-scorer Crystal Smith for much of the game after she injured her ankle midway through the first half.
High Point hosts another key Big South matchup Saturday against Radford at 3:30 p.m.