Lady Flames tallied a season-high 29 assists against Longwood
The Lady Flames basketball team was able to shrug off a slow start in the first half and used brilliant passing and superior rebounding to roll past the Longwood Lady Lancers Saturday, Jan. 26, 91-58.
Liberty (15-6, 7-2 Big South) trailed 16-8 early, but with 13:54 remaining in the first half, redshirt senior Brittany Campbell hit a three-pointer that sparked a 14-0 run that gave the Lady Flames a lead they would not surrender.
Longwood (9-11, 6-3 Big South) was able to cut Liberty’s lead down to three with 5:52 remaining in the half. However, the Lady Flames went on a 12-0 run capped by a three-point buzzer beater by sophomore point guard Emily Frazier, giving the Lady Flames a 40-25 halftime lead.
Campbell, who had never scored in double digits in a home game, netted 11 of her career-high 19 points in the first half.
“It’s so exciting, and I’m so blessed,” Campbell said. “My teammates were giving me great passes tonight, and it was just so fun tonight. It was exciting to come up big for a big game, and now is the time for us to start getting better, and I think that we are doing that as a team.”
After halftime, the Lady Flames fed off the momentum from the first half buzzer beater, expanding their lead to a 25-point advantage just 3:42 into the second half on a layup by redshirt senior Tolu Omotola, who finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Boosted by 61-percent shooting from the floor, the Lady Flames continued to dominate in the second half, and hold the Lady Lancers to 35-percent shooting (12-34).
Campbell was not the only Lady Flame to post a career high, as redshirt Frazier also posted a career-high 13 assists.
Head Coach Carey Green was very pleased with his team’s performance Saturday night, especially with the way Frazier and fellow point guard Reagan Miller were able to share the basketball.
“It’s so important for (Frazier and Reagan), having 17 assists,” Green said. “We only had a game goal of 17 assists. I was so pleased with how they set the tables, so to speak.”
In total, the Lady Flames collected a season-high 29 assists on 36 field goals.
Redshirt senior Devon Brown overcame poor first-half shooting (3-14) with a terrific second half (6-7) to finish the night as the Lady Flames leading scorer, with 21 points.
“It’s basketball. Some shots go in, some don’t, and you still have to keep shooting,” Brown said. “I still had confidence in my shot, so I had to keep on shooting.”
Perhaps the biggest reason behind the Lady Flames win was their dominance on the boards.
The Lady Flames outscored the Lady Lancers 52-16 in the paint and out-rebounded them 56-30, expanding their lead as the top rebounding team in the country.
Redshirt junior Jasmine Gardner and redshirt freshman Ashley Rininger led the team with 12 rebounds each. Rininger also added 16 points to post her second career double-double.
Lady Lancers guard Mieke Elkington scored 15 points, and forward Chelsea Coward also chipped in with 12, in a losing effort.
After the first half of conference play, Liberty stands in a three-way tie with Winthrop and Presbyterian.
“The second half is going to be a little tougher, because everyone has seen everyone,” Green said. “We have got some tough games on the road, and we have to take care of business from here on out. Right now, at this point of time, if we slip up, it could cost you. Our goal is to be No. 1.”
The Lady Flames will return to action when they travel to take on the Campbell Lady Fighting Camels Thursday, Jan. 31.