Mar 9, 2010

Lady Flames head to Big South Tourney

by Chris McNair

Strong play in the paint is what gave the Lady Flames the edge against Commonwealth rival Radford Friday evening at the Vines Center, in what was a preview of this Friday’s Big South Quarterfinals. They outrebounded the Highlanders, 46-23, and scored a whopping 48 points in the paint en route to a commanding 66-33 victory.

Sophomore Avery Warley led the way for the Lady Flames with game highs in both the points (17) and rebounds (12). It was a career night for Warley as she reached the 500 rebounds milestone.

“What can I say? Anybody that gets 500 rebounds in only their sophomore year of playing has got a bright future,” Lady Flames head coach Carey Green said. “She’s worked very hard so it’s very deserving.”

This win marked Liberty’s sixth consecutive victory and it improves to 23-5 overall and 13-2 in conference play. It was also its seventh consecutive win over Radford.

Radford was unable to get much of anything going, shooting a dismal 23.5 percent (12-of-51) from the field. With its ninth loss in its last 10 games Radford falls to 6-21 overall and 5-11 in the Big South.

Liberty scored six times more points in the paint than its opponent (48-8), which Warley attributed to talking more amongst teammates and strong guard play.

“Tonight we had a lot of communication. Our guards were able to pick up early. Me — being able to see the whole floor as center — I did a lot of communicating and just played good defense and moved my feet,” she said.

Freshman Lakendra Washington was a spark plug off the bench for the Lady Flames, scoring 14 points and giving them lots of momentum. Warley spoke highly of Washington’s performance and is pleased with what she brings to the table night in and night out.

“She is really stepping up her game. I’m really proud of her. She does the little things and it pays off. She’s really been a good asset to our front line and I hope she continues to play well,” Warley said.

Liberty’s bench brought a lot of energy to the game, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Dymond Morgan, Lakendra Washington and Danika Dale, accounted for a total of 12 steals on the night.

The Lady Flames held Radford’s Kymesha Alston and Ashley Buckhannon to just 10 points on the night. Green wanted to make it a point to shut them down as the leaders of the team.

“We realized that those players were crucial and leaders on their team,” he said. “I’m very pleased that our defensive pressure didn’t slack off in the second half.”

The Lady Flames will go into the quarterfinals with a sense of urgency. The stakes will be much higher, so they know what they have to lose.

Free throw shooting and defense were the keys to victory last Monday evening when the Lady Flames took on Presbyterian College. They shot 84.6 percent (22-of-26) from the charity stripe in the in a 55-40 triumph at the Templeton Center.

Freshman Devon Brown led the way with a game-high 15 points, adding five boards and three steals.

Avery Warley notched a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. She connected on all three of her field goals and all seven free throws.

The Lady Flames used height to their advantage, outrebounding the Blue Hose, 21-8. They scored 20 points in the paint to Presbyterian’s two. Aggressive defense led to nine steals, which led to 10 points for the Lady Flames.

Contact Chris McNair at
cjmcnair@liberty.edu.
 


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