Radford University’s women’s basketball team moved its winning streak to six consecutive games for the second time this season as the Highlanders held off a second half charge by High Point for a 59-56 victory, Tuesday night for their fifth straight Big South win to start conference play.
The Highlanders’ longest winning streak on the season is seven games (Nov. 19-Dec. 10) as the current streak started after losses to Kentucky (Dec. 18) and Virginia Tech (Dec. 21) with a victory over Concord on New Year’s Eve.
Radford last started Big South play 5-0 during the 1997-98 season as the Highlanders won 10 of their first 11 Big South games that season.
In the opening quarter, Radford scored 21 points on eight of 16 shooting, three baskets coming from behind the arc. After starting the game with a 5-0 lead, High Point cut the deficit to 9-6 at the 6:40 mark, before the Highlanders went on a 7-2 run to build an eight-point lead.
The run started almost one-minute after the Panthers cut the lead to three as Jen Falconer found a wide open Khiana Johnson for a knockdown 3-pointer. Jayda Worthy followed with a pair of free throws, before Falconer found Sydney Nunley for a layup, giving Radford a 16-8 lead at the 3:04 mark.
High Point answered with a 7-2 run of their own, before Worthy found Falconer in the corner for the Highlanders’ third 3-pointer of the quarter, handing Radford a 21-15 lead after 10 minutes of play.
The two foes went scoreless for the first 1:30 of the second quarter, before High Point closed the gap to two points (23-21) on a Camryn Brown 3-pointer at the 7:44 mark.
Worthy tallied six of her 10 first half points in the quarter after High Point trimmed the lead to two points. The reigning Big South Player of the Week went 3 for 3 in the quarter, ending the Panthers momentum with a buzzer beater to send Radford into the locker room with a 37-31 lead. Janayla White found a cutting Worthy for a layup just in time to beat the horn.
Radford shot a blistering 50 percent from the floor in the opening quarter, making 14 of 28 attempts. Worthy paced all scorers with 10 points on four of four shooting. Johnson followed with eight points on two 3-pointers and Walker chipped in seven points in the half.
High Point’s momentum did not appear to be phased by the Worthy buzzer beater as the Panthers rattled off seven straight points to start the second half as a Kat Harris’ 3-pointer gave High Point its first lead of the game (38-37), forcing Radford to call a timeout.
After falling behind for the first time in the contest; Radford answered with six straight points on baskets from Claudia Quevedo, Worthy and White to push the lead to 43-38 with 5:30 remaining in the quarter.
The Panthers once again made a small run, cutting the lead to two points, before Quevedo connected on a 3-pointer off an unbelievable dribble-drive pass from Johnson through three defenders. The basket pushed the lead back to five points as Quevedo ended the quarter with a steal and layup to beat to clock as Radford headed into the final 10 minutes with a 50-45 lead.
Radford went ice cold from the field in the fourth quarter, making only three of 11 attempts, relying heavily on its defense as High Point made five of its 17 attempts, including a one for six effort from behind the arc.
The game came down to free throws as High Point did not shoot a single free throw in the second half, while Radford went four for eight from the charity stripe.
Following a two-minute scoreless stretch in the quarter, Walker picked off a Bockrath pass, leading to another Quevedo 3-pointer. The 3-pointer proved to be key as the basket pushed the Highlander lead to 57-50 with 4:49 left in regulation.
High Point outscored Radford 6-2 after the Quevedo basket, but was held scoreless by the Radford defense for the final 44 seconds as the Highlanders held on for a 59-56 victory.
The win over the Panthers marked the first regular season win since a 61-58 decision on January 24, 2015. Radford improves to 17-5 against High Point in the Dedmon Center.
The Highlanders improve to 7-0 on their home court in 2016-17.
Claudia Quevedo led the Highlanders in scoring for the first time on the season with a season-high 13 points on 5 of 11 shooting, including three made 3-pointers. The redshirt-sophomore added 10 points in the second half. Quevedo matched a career high in rebounds with five.
After scoring 10 points on a 4 for 4 shooting effort in the first half, Jayda Worthy was held to two points in the second half to finish with her sixth straight double-digit performance with 12 points.
Rounding out the three Highlanders in double-figures, Khiana Johnson collected her seven double-digit showing this season with a 10-point effort.
After shooting 50 percent from the field in the first half, Radford shot 33.3 percent in the second half, making eight of 24 attempts. Radford finished the game with a 42.3 field goal percentage, making 22 of 52 attempts. The Highlanders assisted on 11 of its 22 makes.
Destinee Walker led the way with three assists. Jen Falconer, Worthy and White followed with two each. Janayla White and Worthy led the way with six rebounds each as the Highlanders controlled a 37-33 rebound margin.
Radford dominated the paint (24-18), but High Point controlled the offensive glass (10-8), scoring 12 second-chance points.
Emma Bockrath turned in a strong showing for High Point; finishing with 10 points, five steals and four assists.
“I think we learned a lot from our Power 5 games in how to get better and what areas we needed to improve in. I think the other factor to our start in the Big South is that our team was excited to start conference play. This is something they have looked forward to and keep wanting to get better every game. I’m very proud of these girls,” said Radford head coach Mike McGuire.
Radford returns to action this afternoon with a road trip to Charleston Southern for a 3 p.m. contest. The Highlanders lead the all-time series 48-18 with a 19-12 record inside the Buc Dome. Sweeping last year’s matchups, Radford has won five in a row and eight out of its last nine matchups against the Buccaneers. Radford’s last loss in the Buc Dome came in a 79-69 decision on Jan. 14, 2012.
— Courtesy of RU Athletics