RADFORD – The Radford women’s basketball program picked up a massive victory Wednesday night 65-55 over High Point.
Radford closed out play in the Dedmon Center this season with their 10th home win in dominant fashion, leading the entire way.
In what felt like a must-win night for the Highlanders, the team played that way the entire 40 minutes. Rachel LaLonde began the game with an emphatic three-pointer, another theme on the night. Radford would never trail in the contest after that three by LaLonde.
Eight different Highlanders lit up the box score in just the first quarter. Vanessa Blake got her career-night going with a pair of free throws early and her second-chance opportunities fed players like Ashlyn Traylor who made it 8-2 Radford just two minutes into the game. Radford would go seven-for-seven to start the game from the charity stripe which helped build a 19-13 lead before Maci Rhoades hit a last second three-pointer to make it 22-13 at the end of the first quarter.
The shots just kept falling for Radford as the team battled through some turnovers to build a 26-13 lead two minutes into the second. Blake would stop a 7-0 run by High Point at the five-and-a-half-minute mark and a three-pointer by Ashley Panem had Radford rolling once again up 31-22. It was a cold finish to the half for both teams as each team only scored one basket in the final three minutes.
Leading 33-26 entering the second half, the team once again kept the foot on the gas pedal. Blake got to work in the paint to score first and layups by Williams and Wagner paved the way to a 9-0 run to start the half that made it a 42-26 advantage. Another 6-0 run by High Point threatened that lead, but LaLonde hit another huge three-pointer to keep the Panthers at bay.
An and-one by Traylor would put Radford up 15 and help the team hold a 50-37 lead through three quarters. The defense played a huge part in the leading effort so far and would continue to do so in the final quarter.
Williams assured the offense was well accounted for in the fourth quarter, hitting back-to-back three-pointers to make it 56-42. High Point had one last run in them, a 9-0 run that suddenly made it just a 60-55 lead for Radford with 2:48 to go. LaLonde hit a pair of clutch free throws as the defense stepped up big not allowing a single point over that final 2:48. Radford was steady at the free throw line and would hold on for the 65-55 win.
Blake played a huge role in the Highlanders’ win today, dominating on the boards. The sophomore finally secured her first double-double of her career after coming up just one point or one rebound shy multiple times this season. Blake pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds today including four offensive rebounds which helped the team put up 9 second chance points.
After a couple of cold games in the last couple of weeks, there was no doubt about the Highlanders shots from deep tonight. The team combined to go 7-18 (39%) on the night with five different players hitting a three. Williams and LaLonde led the team with two each. Overall on the night Radford was efficient with their shot selection shooting 44% to out-shoot the conference leaders in shooting percentage.
Radford locked up yet another 10-win season inside Dedmon tonight in a season that featured some of the best games the Highlanders have played this season. Wins over Campbell and High Point have given Radford key victories over two of the top-three seeded teams in the conference. Radford only lost two Big South games at home this season, earning seven wins to entertain the home faithful.
Radford has one last test remaining on the regular season, a date with Campbell set for this Saturday. At 2 p.m. the Highlanders and Camels will rematch a previous battle earlier this season where Radford got a heroic shot from Williams to win the game. Action is being streamed on ESPN3, and it will be Radford’s last tune-up before the Big South Tournament.
Courtesy of Radford University Athletics
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