Feb 2, 2010

Women’s basketball continues hot streak with wins over Coastal, High Point

by Chris McNair

Faced with an uphill battle late in the contest, the Lady Flames fought back against the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina, en route to a 57-38 victory Monday at the Kimbel Center. This was the Lady Flames seventh win in a row and 32nd consecutive win against Coastal.

The catalysts for the Lady Flames were sophomore Avery Warley and freshman Devon Brown, both of whom notched double-doubles, fueling Liberty’s fire in the late stages of the second half.
Things were tough early for the Lady Flames. It took them four minutes to score their first basket. Senior guard Amber Mays finally put them on the board with a fast break layup, beginning an 8-0 run.

The Chanticleers answered with a pair of three-pointers from Amanda Stull, the first of which sparked a 7-1 surge for Coastal. Her second triple bumped the Chanticleers halftime advantage to 21-16.

Both teams struggled on the offensive end in the first half. Liberty shot a dismal 25 percent (6-of-24) from the field. Coastal did not shoot much better, connecting on only 31.6 percent (6-of-19) of its field goals. However, it did own the advantage from beyond the ark and the charity stripe, connecting on all six of its free throws in the first half, while Liberty shot 37.5 percent (3-of-8) from the line.

Liberty was held to just four points in the paint in the first half. Warley, who was named Big South Player of the Week, paced the Lady Flames with five points and six rebounds in the first half.

Freshman Lakendra Washington added four points off the bench, including the Lady Flames only three-point field goal.

The Lady Flames came out in the second half determined to capture the lead. They did so in dominating fashion.

Warley and Brown sparked a 10-0 run to begin the second half, knotting the score at 28 apiece with 12:30 left to play.

A Washington three-pointer gave Liberty a brief 33-31 lead with 10:22 left to play.

Coastal scored the next five points, and that would be its last points until an Elizabeth Weaver jumper almost eight minutes later and an offensive onslaught ensued for the Lady Flames.

Liberty reeled off 18 unanswered points, nine of which came from Brown.

The Lady Flames owned the boards in the second half. Warley and Brown single-handedly outrebounded Coastal. Sophomore Kylee Beecher was also excellent on the boards, pulling down nine rebounds, eight of which were on the offensive end.

The Lady Flames also dominated in second chance points (15-0) and points in the paint (16-4) in the second half.

Brown turned it on in the second half, scoring 15 of her team-high 17 points. She also pulled down 10 rebounds and recorded four steals, recording her fifth double-double of the season.

Warley posted her second straight double-double on the South Carolina “Beach Trip” recording 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Warley continued her streak of hot play against High Point Saturday afternoon at the Millis Center.

Warley recorded a double-double with a career-high 26 points and 14 rebounds, en route to a 75-62 road victory.

With this win, the Lady Flames extended their winning streak to eight. They improve to 15-4 overall and 6-1 in the Big South. Liberty now sits in second place in the conference, one-half game behind Gardner-Webb.

Devon Brown also had a career afternoon, scoring a game-high and season-high 29 points and 11 rebounds.

Brown had been waiting for this game after seeing High Point defeat Liberty last season, before her arrival.

“I watched High Point play last year and knew they were a good team. They were the only Big South team to beat Liberty last season, so I was hungry for this game,” Brown said.

Warley took the lead right away, scoring Liberty’s first 11 points, but High Point got off to a similarly fast start.

A 9-2 run several minutes in gave High Point its largest early lead, 20-16.

Liberty went right back on top after a Dymond Morgan triple and a Brown fast break layup.

Both teams shot well in the first half, as High Point connected on 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from the field. Liberty shot 48 percent (12-of-25).

But the Lady Flames, who lead the nation in rebounding, lost the first half rebounding battle, 17-11.

Liberty came out in the second half with a 9-2 run, sparked by Brown. The surge tied the game at 43 apiece. Warley then tallied six points during a 7-2 surge, giving them a 53-51 lead.

High Point answered midway through the second half with an Amy Dodd layup, which would be its only field goal in 12 minutes.

Liberty then went on a 14-1 scoring run, extending the margin to 13 points, 67-54. The Panthers got no closer than 10 points the rest of the game.

Free throw shooting proved to be the difference-maker for the Lady Flames. They got to the line often, connecting on 74.3 percent of their free throws, setting a season-high with 26 made free throws out of 35 attempted.

Liberty also controlled the paint, outrebounding High Point 31-8.
“In the second half, we outrebounded High Point, attacked and got into the double bonus early. Then, we did a good job of knocking down our free throws,” Liberty Head Coach Carry Green said.

“It was a tale of two halves. We really came out and played with much more intensity in the second half. I was so pleased with our players’ efforts. It was a great effort by the entire team,” Green added.

Coach Green spoke highly of two of his stars, Brown and Warley.
“We had outstanding contributions from a couple players. Devon Brown showed that she is one of the premier players in our league. Meanwhile, Avery was just a beast early in the game and kept it throughout the contest,” Green said.

Liberty will finish up its four-game road trip Monday, as it faces Commonwealth rival Radford. Tipoff at the Dedmon Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Contact Chris McNair
at cjmcnair@liberty.edu.

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