Jan 26, 2010

Lady Flames dominate UNC Asheville, Charleston Southern

by Chris McNair

Strong defensive play and effective scoring were the keys to victory as the Lady Flames scorched Big South opponent UNC Asheville Monday evening at the Vines Center. The game completed a 5-0 home stand for Liberty, and marks its 17th consecutive home victory.

Liberty showcased a solid all-around attack, as four players reached double figures in the contest. Senior Amber Mays and sophomore Kylee Beecher led all scorers with 14 points apiece. Right behind them were freshman guard Devon Brown, who contributed 12 points on the evening, and Rachael McLeod, who added 10 points.

The Lady Flames held the Bulldogs to a dismal 27.5 percent from the field, which marked the 100th consecutive game Liberty has kept its opponent from making 50 percent of its field goals.
Liberty owned the boards all night, outrebounding the Bulldogs 27-16 in the first half. Avery Warley paced Liberty with 10 rebounds of her own. Moreover, 13 of the 27 were offensive rebounds, which led to 14 second-chance points for the Lady Flames.

Liberty also dominated in other categories by hefty margins at the end of the contest, more than tripling UNC Asheville’s points in the paint (38-12), scoring more points off of turnovers (33-12), and doubling second-chance points (23-11).

Brown hit a three-pointer going into the half that brought everyone to their feet. Although Liberty had a comfortable lead, it was still a momentum boost for them.

“Ray-Mac [McLeod] got tied up over there on the side, and she hit Kylee, she hit me and I let it launch and it went through,” Brown said.

A solid defensive effort from the Lady Flames turned the game into a blowout. Mays believes that if they continue defending like they did against Asheville, then there will be more blowouts to come.

“We thrive on our defense, so as long as we keep playing great defense like we were, we know we can keep blowing teams out,” Mays said.

McLeod, who tied her career high for steals with four, was one of three Lady Flames along with Dymond Morgan and Lakendra Washington, to tally four steals on the evening. Morgan also added a game-high six assists.

Forward Lindsey Montgomery led UNC-Asheville in both points (10) and rebounds (8). Guard Kendall Shephard contributed with nine points, four assists and five rebounds.

The loss brings the Bulldogs to 5-13 overall and 1-5 in the Big South.

The Lady Flames sought to continue their winning ways on Saturday in a Big South matchup at Charleston Southern (CSU).
Warley was the catalyst for the Lady Flames, leading all scorers with 18 points and adding 16 rebounds, en route to a 65-52 road win. The win marked the 26th consecutive time Liberty has defeated the Buccaneers.

Liberty hit the ground running, scoring 11 unanswered points to begin the game. CSU connected on a series of three-point field goals, trimming the deficit, but they were never able to capture the lead.

After a Katie Tull triple at the 5:47 mark in the first half, the score was 24-18, Liberty, which was the closest the Buccaneers got.
The Lady Flames countered with a 13-4 surge of their own, which featured four points from Brown and McLeod. Washington also added a steal and fast break layup which gave Liberty a 37-22 advantage just 14 seconds before halftime.

CSU’s Helen Terry then beat the buzzer with a putback, cutting the deficit to 13 points going into intermission.

In the second half Liberty pushed its lead back to double digits with a 15-2 run, and ran away with the game. CSU never got closer than 12 points for the remainder of the contest, eventually losing 65-52.

Warley’s season-high rebounding total was part of her second double-double this season.

“We knew this would be a tough game, being on the road. We knew there would be some adversity but we just had to be mentally prepared and able to play through it. I just wanted to own the boards tonight. I’m a rebounder. That’s what I do best. I want to keep rebounding for our team,” Warley said.

Lady Flames head coach Carey Green believes that the widespread effort was a key to victory for them.

“We got contributions from a lot of different people tonight. We executed our offense well, for the most part. We were strong on the rebounds, which is always an objective of ours,” Green said.
Green said that Charleston Southern plays hard and is a very scrappy team, but guarding the perimeter and limiting their three-point shooting enabled his team to get the win.

This victory was No. 250 of Green’s coaching career. He is now 250-81 in 11 seasons with the Lady Flames.

Liberty improved to 4-1 in Big South play and 13-4 overall.
The Lady Flames will travel to High Point, N.C., to take on the Panthers Saturday afternoon. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m.

Contact Chris McNair at cjmcnair@liberty.edu.


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