Nov 17, 2009

Lady Flames win big in season opener

by Chris McNair

The Lady Flames basketball team opened the 2009-2010 season with a 71-26 win against the Winston-Salem State Rams at the Vines Center Friday night.

The new look Lady Flames, led by returning players Amber Mays, Avery Warley and Kylee Beecher, dominated both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball
throughout the contest.

Leading the charge for Liberty was redshirt freshman Devon Brown, who singlehandedly matched the Rams’ total scoring effort with an explosive 26 points on 11-of-14, shooting to lead the Lady Flames to the victory. The Lady Flames have not limited a team to a score that low since facing Winthrop Feb. 28, 2005.

This is the sixth season out of the last eight in which the Lady Flames won the season opener.

Freshmen are not expected to put up such impressive numbers in their first collegiate game.

“My mindset was to come out and have fun and win the basketball game,” Brown said.

Head Coach Carey Green is excited about their strong play in the season opener.

“It’s great to see Brown and Lakendra (Washington) come out and
play this well the first game,” Green said.

Brown also pulled down seven rebounds, tying teammate Danika Dale for second most in the game. Warley’s nine rebounds led all players. Amber Mays totaled a team-high six assists and four steals for the Lady Flames.

Most of the Lady Flames’ offense came from defense. Liberty converted 32 Winston-Salem State turnovers into 35 points. They held the Rams to only 26 percent from the field.

The Rams went scoreless for the first 8:44 of the contest, as Liberty jumped out to a quick 13-0 lead sparked by seven points from Brown.

In the final minute of the first half, Brown hit back-to-back 3-pointers, putting Liberty up by 18.

Brown’s offensive onslaught was supported by strong play from Kylee Beecher who had eight first half points, and Avery Warley who pulled down six rebounds for the Lady Flames before the break.

The second half was not much different from the first. The Lady Flames immediately put the game away with a 20-4 run to open the second half, sparked by Brown and Washington who tallied five points during the surge, en route to the win.

“I’m not sure it’s about momentum. We’re searching for an identity and just building confidence in who we are,” Green said.

As far as Brown’s performance is concerned, Green knows that she is capable of such performances, despite her
lack of collegiate experience.

“Devon Brown is a very special player. She’s always been able to score a lot of points. We’re thankful that she’s here and it’s got to be great for her confidence to come out and have her opening game like that,” Green said.

Liberty will remain at home for the second game of the season on Tuesday evening versus UNC Greensboro at 7 p.m. This will mark the Spartans’ first visit to the Vines Center since the 1997 Big South Championship title game, in which Liberty won its first of 12 Big South championships in 13 years.

Contact Chris McNair at

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