Dec 8, 2009

Lady Flames rebound against Glenville

by Chris McNair

Facing their first real test of the season in the James Madison Dukes after a 5-0 start and a 24.2 average margin of victory, the Lady Flames started out cold and stayed cold, shooting a season low 30.5 percent from the field on their way to a 60-50 loss.

Both teams started out sloppy and were tied at two almost four minutes into the game. The Lady Flames were just 3-for-11 from the field in the first 10 minutes and committed eight turnovers early on.

Liberty went scoreless for a total of 5:27, while James Madison went on an 11-1 run, sparked by Kiara Francisco off the bench, giving them an early 11-3 advantage.

A Dawn Evans three-pointer gave the Dukes a double-digit lead of 16-5 at the 11:30 mark.

Evans, with size and speed to burn plus a smooth shooting stroke, was a tough matchup for Evans.

Mays knew that Evans would be a difficult defensive assignment.
“I knew that coming into the game I had to lay off because she was quicker than me. Then I had to be careful because she’s a great shooter so I had to be able to contest her,” Mays said.
Lady Flames Head Coach Carey Green also knew that JMU’s backcourt would be a challenge going in.

“They’ve got two very good guards. We knew they’d be a challenge. They’re led by guard play and that’s what hurt us tonight,” Green said.

Evans finished with 14 points and five assists on the night.
Things were not much different the remainder of the first half. The Lady Flames shot only 13.8 percent (4-of-29) from the field in the first 20 minutes of the contest.

Despite shooting 0-for-8 in the first half, freshman Devon Brown contributed with seven points and seven rebounds in the opening stanza, while sophomore Avery Warley hauled down five boards of her own.

The Lady Flames came out in the second half trying to trim the deficit to single digits. Rachel McLeod helped the cause with a jumper in the opening minute, trimming the Dukes’ lead to 10. Tarok Hislip answered with a layup to push the lead back to 12.

Liberty then, with their backs against the wall, went on an explosive 11-2 run, limiting the Dukes to one field goal over the next 9:50. With just over 10 minutes remaining, Warley split a pair of free throws, cutting the deficit to give.

However, the Dukes fired back with a 9-2 surge, capped by a Hislop three-pointer, giving James Madison a 47-35 lead with 7:17 remaining.

Liberty made one final charge, highlighted by four consecutive points from Warley that cut the deficit to four, 50-46, at 2:54. Soon after, Warley fouled out of the game.

The Dukes then put the game away, scoring the next six points over a 2:13 span.

JMU became the first road team to win in the local rivals’ head-to-head series.

James Madison did not shoot that much better than Liberty, finishing at 33.3 percent (18-of-54) from the field. However, they did get to the charity stripe 15 more times than the Lady Flames, sinking 19.

Coach Green believes that too many easy layups were allowed, and they sent JMU to the line too frequently.

“We didn’t protect the basket as well. That’s what we’ve got to be committed to — protecting the basket —which, consequently, protects your two post players and allows them to get more rebounds on the defensive end,” Green said.

Green added that when a team shoots that many free throws, the opposing team’s defense is being broken down.

“If you’re in good position defensively, then you don’t foul,” Green said.

After a tough loss to James Madison Tuesday evening, the Lady Flames sought to bounce back against Glenville State Saturday afternoon at the Vines Center.

It was a collective effort from the Lady Flames, as eight players scored at least six points. They set a Vines Center record of 67 rebounds and scored 64 points in the paint.

Glenville State shot a dismal 19.2 percent from the field connecting on only 15 shots out of an attempted 78. On the other hand, Liberty shot an impressive 61.4 percent (35-of-57) from the field.

The Lady Flames held the lead for the entire contest, en route to an 86-45 victory.

One of Liberty’s top performers was freshman Jelena Antic, who posted her first career double-double, finishing with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

The Lady Flames, who are ranked No. 10 nationally in rebounding, out-rebounded the Pioneers by 38 on the afternoon.
Brown led all scorers with 20 points and pulled down nine boards. Sophomore Kylee Beecher scored a season-high 14 points, connecting on seven out of eight field goal attempts.

Liberty does not return to action until Dec. 15 when it makes its first-ever trip to Auburn. The Lady Flames’ next home game is Jan. 5 when North Carolina A&T visits the Vines Center.

Contact Chris McNair at
cjmcnair@liberty.edu.

 


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