Panthers fall against Charleston Southern

Jan. 11, 2014 @ 08:41 PM

The High Point University women kept getting back within striking distance, but they couldn’t quite complete the comeback in falling 56-53 against Charleston Southern in Big South Conference basketball Saturday in the Millis Center.

“That seems to be the theme – we keep fighting back,” coach DeUnna Hendrix said. “The thing about us is that we have to come out focused and ready to play. I didn’t think we came out the first four minutes focused at all. I felt like we got outworked the whole game.

“That’s sort of been the theme. When we get outworked, we lose; when we outwork people, we win – it’s really easy. … I really felt like we would’ve come out more focused and ready – but we didn’t. We’ve been up-and-down all year, and we’ve got to figure it out.”

Freshman guard Kaylah Keys scored 18 points, hitting three 3-pointers, to lead the Panthers (8-8, 4-3 Big South), while redshirt junior forward Stacia Robertson also had seven points and 15 rebounds, and freshman forward DeAnneisha Jackson had 10 points.

Erin Bratcher scored 19 points, hitting five 3s, for the Buccaneers (6-9, 3-4 Big South), who led all but the opening couple minutes of the game. Tatum Jarvis also had 13 points, while DJ Fowler followed with 12 points.

“I feel like we didn’t execute our game plan very well,” Keys said. “We didn’t play a good first half at all. We scored 20 points, and for a team that likes to score in transition that’s not good at all. We fought, but we just have to put together 40 minutes.

“They got off hot and hit some 3s, and started trading baskets with them. We didn’t get many stops on defense – that was the main thing. We tried to refocus at halftime. Coach was trying to motivate us, telling us to work. We tried to change our mentality, but we fell short at the end.”

High Point had won three of its last four games coming and and played well in an 11-point win Thursday against Presbyterian. But it quickly fell behind against Charleston Southern and – thanks in large part to a 9-0 run – trailed by 12 with 9:00 left in the first half.

That deficit reached 13 with 4:27 left in the half and settled at 32-20 at halftime. After the Panthers cut it to seven early in the second half, the Bucs pushed it back to 13 with 14:20 left in the game and held a double-digit lead until 11:40 left.

High Point did respond with a 14-5 run to cut it to three, 50-47, with 6:05 left – the first of four times it pulled within three. But it couldn’t quite make a big play on the offensive or defensive end, most notably allowing two offensive rebounds in the final minutes, to get any closer.

“Literally they got to every 50/50 ball; we didn’t know where shooters were,” Hendrix said of falling behind. “It was really easy – we didn’t follow the game plan at all, and then we got outworked on top of it. (Second half), we got the ball inside – that was the game plan initially.

“We wanted to take advantage of their zone, get it inside and attack with Stacia, with Latrice (Phelps), with DeAnneisha – I thought DeAnneisha played a great second half, and that was because we were getting her the ball. … But it shouldn’t have gotten to the last two or three minutes. If we come out and play hard, then we’re up.”

The Panthers play their next two on the road, starting Thursday at UNC Asheville, before returning home Jan. 23 against Radford at 7 p.m.