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Warley Comes Up Big in Liberty Victory
Liberty won its 34th consecutive meeting with Coastal Carolina, Monday evening at the Vines Center, thanks in large part to Avery Warley. During the game's final 85 seconds, the redshirt junior blocked a shot, grabbed two rebounds and made all four of her free throw attempts. Warley's clutch plays helped seal the Lady Flames' 58-54 triumph.
The Chanticleers used a season-high eight three-pointers to whittle a 12-point second-half deficit to two on two occasions within the last 2:09. However, Warley's game-high 14 points and 13 rebounds helped Liberty stave off Coastal Carolina's rally.
Liberty, which put four of its five starters into double figures in the scoring column, improves to 11-8 overall and 5-1 in Big South action. Its 34-game winning streak against the Chanticleers has withstood some close calls in recent years. Three of Liberty's last five home wins against Coastal Carolina have come by a total of eight points.
Coastal Carolina lost its sixth game in a row, falling to 6-12 overall and 0-6 in conference play.
The Lady Flames got off to a fast start offensively, making seven of their first 11 shots, including a trio of made field goals by Devon Brown. Warley split a pair of free throws at the 11:45 mark, giving Liberty its first double-digit lead at 18-8.
Coastal Carolina halved its deficit with a quick 5-0 burst. Jessica Noll's triple from the top of the key at 9:38 brought the Chanticleers to within 18-13.
Liberty limited the visitors to one made field goal over the next three and a half minutes, extending its advantage to 12 points, 28-16, on Dymond Morgan's free throw, 6:43 before halftime.
The Chanticleers once again cut Liberty's advantage in half, using a pair of three-pointers to do so. Kayla Cook's deep trey as the shot clock expired made the score 28-22, Lady Flames, at the 4:14 mark.
Warley halted Coastal Carolina's momentum with an old-fashioned three-point play just 20 seconds later, and the Chanticleers got no closer than six for the remainder of the half.
Liberty's halftime advantage was 10, 35-25, thanks in part to 18 points in the paint and a 20-12 rebounding edge.
The Lady Flames also shot the ball well during the first half, making 52.2 percent (12-of-23) of their field goals, 50 percent (2-of-4) of their three-pointers and 81.8 percent (9-of-11) of their foul shots.
Coastal Carolina, on the other hand, shot just 31 percent (9-of-29) before halftime. However, four of those made field goals were of the three-point variety, enabling the Chanticleers to stay within striking distance.
Brown led all scorers in the first half with 11 points for the Lady Flames, while Warley grabbed a team-high five boards.
Noll came off the Coastal Carolina bench to pace her team in both points (9) and rebounds (3) during the opening 20 minutes, scoring all of her points from beyond the three-point arc.
A 5-0 Coastal Carolina spurt early in the second half trimmed Liberty's lead to seven points. The score stood at 41-34 after Katie White's layup form the left side with 14:31 remaining.
Liberty twice extended its lead to 11, before going more than seven minutes with only one made field goal. During the Lady Flames' offensive drought, Coastal Carolina cut their lead to four. Kira Carter's jump shot at the 4:01 mark made it 49-45, Liberty.
Rachel McLeod scored on the Lady Flames' next possession, canning a left-handed scoop shot in the lane. However, Coastal Carolina then rediscovered the three-point shooting touch which had kept the Chanticleers close in the first half.
Coastal Carolina sandwiched Tolu Omotola's bank shot with a pair of triples, cutting the Liberty lead to 53-51 when Sydnei Moss made a trifecta with 2:09 left.
After Jelena Antic split a pair of free throws, Warley began her impressive game-ending sequence. White went up for an apparent open layup, before Warley came from the weak side of the lane to swat it away.
Liberty failed to score on its next trip to the offensive end, giving Moss a chance to tie the game with a three-pointer. However, the senior's try caromed off the rim and into the waiting arms of Warley.
Warley calmly made two free throws with 33 seconds remaining, pushing Liberty's edge back to five, 56-51. Moss countered with a triple just nine ticks later, making it 56-54.
McLeod missed a free throw, but Warley was there for a crucial offensive board. She then stepped to the foul line to sink two more charity tosses with 13 seconds on the clock.
Now leading 58-54, Liberty kept Coastal Carolina from getting off another shot attempt, closing out their seventh win in the last eight contests.
Liberty shot 44.4 percent (20-of-45) from the field on the night, aided by 32 points in the paint and 15 second-chance points. The Lady Flames also made 72.7 percent (16-of-22) of their free throws.
Coastal Carolina ended up at 36.4 percent (20-of-55) from the field, highlighted by its previously mentioned eight three-pointers. However, the Chanticleers only made nine trips to the foul line on the night.
The Lady Flames outrebounded their 13th straight opponent, finishing with a 39-26 edge on the glass. Liberty also got into double digits in the steal column for the third outing in a row, tallying 10 thefts.
Warley's double-double was her fifth in a row and seventh in the last eight games. She is now tied with Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame member Theresa Bream for fourth place in program history, with 23 career double-doubles.
Antic (11 points), Brown (11) and Omotola (10) joined Warley in double figures. Antic, whose double-digit scoring output was her eighth in a row at the Vines Center, led all players with four assists.
Brown tied Morgan for game-high honors with three steals, while Omotola complemented Warley's work on the boards with six caroms.
Carter's 12 points led Coastal Carolina's balanced scoring attack, while Moss notched nine of her 11 markers after halftime. Noll finished with a team-high four boards for the Chanticleers.
Liberty will travel south for its next two games, starting with a Saturday contest at Winthrop. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum. The last time the Lady Flames visited Winthrop (Feb. 15, 2010), Liberty set a program record for fewest points allowed in a 52-18 victory.
Meanwhile, Coastal Carolina will return to the Commonwealth for its next game. The Chanticleers will next play at Radford, with tipoff slated for Saturday at 3 p.m.