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Liberty Defeats Longwood with 3-Point Barrage
Known as a post-oriented team, Liberty used the three-point shot to great effect during Thursday evening's contest with Longwood. The Lady Flames tied a season high with 10 triples, propelling them to a 74-41 victory inside the Vines Center.
Jaymee Fisher-Davis and Mickayla Sanders were Liberty's leaders on the perimeter, combining for seven three-pointers and tallying 16 points apiece. The duo helped the Lady Flames successfully bounce back from Saturday's overtime loss at UNC Asheville and improve to 12-7 overall and 8-2 in Big South play.
Liberty, which has now won six straight home games and 10 consecutive meetings with Longwood, reclaimed sole possession of first place in the Big South standings at the midpoint of conference play. Conference co-leader Winthrop dropped a 77-74 overtime decision at Campbell Thursday evening.
Longwood shot only 24.5 percent (12-of-49) from the field and scored a season-low 41 points during its third loss in a row. The Lancers fall to 6-13 overall and 3-7 in the Big South.
Ashley Rininger made more field goals (2) than Longwood (1) during the first seven minutes of the game, as the Lady Flames ran out to an early 12-5 lead.
Shortly thereafter, Liberty extended its advantage to 15 points (24-9) with a 12-2 burst. Emily Frazier's three-pointer at the 8:45 mark capped off the 10-point surge.
Longwood's Jaclyn Reagan hit three triples during Longwood's ensuing 13-3 run. As a result, the Lancers cut their deficit to 27-22, 3:47 before halftime, on Daeisha Brown's driving layup.
Liberty responded with some stellar outside shooting of its own, as three-pointers by Reagan Miller and Sanders kick-started an 8-0 Lady Flames surge. The run led to a 35-22 Liberty advantage at the 1:56 mark.
The homestanding Lady Flames maintained their double-digit lead for the rest of the opening half, taking a 37-26 cushion into the intermission.
Liberty, which made five first-half triples, shot 40.6 percent overall (13-of-32) for the stanza. The Lady Flames controlled the lane, as evidenced by the rebound margin (25-14), points in the paint (12-6) and second-chance points (9-0) categories.
Longwood made only 29.2 percent (7-of-24) of its field goal attempts before halftime but did shoot 75 percent (9-of-12) from the foul line.
Rininger and Sanders scored seven points apiece for Liberty during the opening 20 minutes, while Katelyn Adams and Simone Brown each had five rebounds.
Daeisha Brown paced the Lancers in both points (11) and rebounds (5) before the break.
During the first 3:08 of the second half, Sanders scored nine points, helping the Lady Flames push their lead to 50-31 with 15:52 to play.
Longwood countered with four unanswered points to pull to within 50-35 on Deborah Headen's three-pointer from the corner with 14:44 showing on the clock.
Fisher-Davis single-handedly outscored the blue-clad Lancers the rest of the way, 11-6, as Liberty pulled away for a 33-point win in a rematch of the 2013 Big South Women's Basketball Championship title tilt.
The Lady Flames shot the ball effectively from both the field (26-of-58 for 44.8 percent) and three-point range (10-of-23 for 43.5 percent). Meanwhile, half of Longwood's 12 made field goals on the night came from beyond the three-point arc.
The national leader in rebound margin, Liberty did nothing to hurt that standing on Thursday, enjoying a 51-27 advantage on the boards. The Lady Flames were also dominant in points in the paint (28-8) and second-chance points (16-0) and scored a season-high 34 bench points.
Fisher-Davis, who connected on four of her six three-point tries, more than doubled her previous career high of seven points. Meanwhile, Sanders' 16 points left her one shy of her career-high scoring output.
Rininger fell just shy of her 13th double-double of the season, totaling nine points and eight rebounds. She became the 40th Lady Flame ever to collect 400 career rebounds.
Fellow redshirt sophomore post player Adams achieved a milestone of her own on Thursday, as her game-high nine rebounds enabled her to go over 300 for her career.
Ten different Lady Flames made their way into the scoring column on the evening, including freshman Moriah Begin, who recorded the first four points of her collegiate career.
Daeisha Brown ended up as Longwood's scoring (13 points) and rebounding (5 caroms) leader, but she was held to two points and no boards after halftime.
Liberty will now have a week off from competition before returning to the Vines Center next Thursday (Jan. 30) to begin the second half of its Big South Conference schedule. The Lady Flames will host High Point (11-8, 7-3 Big South), with tipoff slated for 7 p.m. Liberty will look to avenge a 75-70 setback to the Panthers, Dec. 30 at the Millis Center.