Feb 26, 2008

Lady Flames poised for NCAA Tourney

by Thomas Lourdeau

The  Liberty Lady Flames (24-2) clinched a share of the Big South Conference Championship with a 78-68 win on the road against High Point on Saturday while extending their winning streak to 13 games.  The win marked the Flames first in the last three trips to High Point University.  Liberty also swept the season series for the first time since the 2003-2004 season.
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Junior guard Megan Frazee set the pace with 26 points and 14 rebounds while junior Rebecca Lightfoot chipped in with 10 boards of her own, tying her previous career high.
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As a team, the Flames shot 46 percent from the floor, despite an initial 0-for-5 in three-point field goals.
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“It was definitely part of our game play to get the ball around the basket or get the ball in a position where we could drive to the hoop,” said Frazee, who scored 20 of her 26 points in the paint and contributed immensely to the Lady Flames fast start out of the gate.
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The Flames defense held High Point to 1-for-14 shooting at the beginning of the game.
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However, despite rolling to an early 17-2 advantage, the win did not come easily.  High Point rallied behind a second-half surge that included six three-point shots to tie the game with 16:29 to play.
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“We had a lot of things go against us and had a lot of distractions, especially the foul trouble. It was a good test for us,” said senior guard Courtney Watkins.
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The Flames responded in the next three minutes, going on a 12-2 run to bring the score to 46-36.  From there, they never looked back.  Head Coach Carey Green was impressed with the way his team responded to High Point’s attempted comeback.
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“A lot of people stepped up for us in the second half, and we were able to execute our offense well.  Two players in particular, Megan Frazee and Rebecca Lightfoot, stepped up and rebounded the ball well. Courtney Watkins hit some crucial, big-time three-pointers down the stretch. We also got some solid, mature play from Rachel McLeod in the final minutes.”
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The Flames found themselves in foul trouble throughout the game.  Both Megan and Molly Frazee fouled out with 2:56 and 2:08 remaining, respectively.
“We got into foul trouble, which changed our substitution patterns and affected our chemistry,” said Coach Green.
The Flames put the game away largely thanks to a 7-0 and 9-0 run in the second half, not allowing High Point to establish any rhythm on offense after their initial strike.
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Megan Frazee was pleased with the way she and her teammates focused despite the distractions.
“We had to battle adversity, but came together as a team. We kept our composure and played with poise down the stretch,” she said.
The win keeps the Lady Flames undefeated in conference play and assures them a share of the Big South regular season crown.  The team travels to Winthrop University on Feb. 27 and to UNC-Asheville on March 1 before returning home to face Radford in the final game before the Big South Tournament.
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Contact Thomas Lourdeau at tlourdeau@liberty.edu.


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