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Hot-Shooting Liberty Takes Down Winthrop, 80-69
|Jaymee Fisher-Davis finished with 13 points and four made triples during Liberty's 80-69 victory over Winthrop.|
Liberty made its last eight three-point attempts of the first half, Saturday evening against Winthrop, turning an 11-point deficit into a 10-point halftime advantage. The Lady Flames never looked back, completing a regular-season sweep of the Big South-leading Eagles with an 80-69 triumph during the 2013-14 home finale at the Vines Center.
Liberty improved to 17-10 overall and 13-5 in Big South play with its third straight win overall and its fifth victory in the last six outings. All nine players who saw action scored points for the Lady Flames, helping the home team enjoy a 31-2 advantage in bench points. As a result, Liberty notched its 22nd consecutive home win in the head-to-head series with the Eagles.
The Lady Flames are now in third place in the Big South standings, one game behind co-leaders Winthrop (20-7, 14-4 Big South) and High Point with one week remaining in the regular season. The Eagles saw their season-long seven-game winning streak halted despite Erica Williams' 22 points and Samiya Wright's season-best 20 points.
Winthrop made five of its first seven field goal attempts, jumping out to a 12-1 lead just 3:21 into the contest.
Liberty still trailed by 11 (16-5) at the 12:00 mark of the opening half, before using three-point shooting to swing the momentum in its favor. The Lady Flames made each of their last eight attempts from beyond the arc to close out the period.
During the half's final 30 seconds, Jaymee Fisher-Davis converted a four-point play and Emily Frazier nailed a deep trifecta, giving the Lady Flames a 38-28 halftime edge.
Fisher-Davis and Frazier each went 3-of-3 from three-point range during the first 20 minutes, pacing Liberty with 10 and nine points, respectively. For the half, the Lady Flames shot 80 percent (8-of-10) from behind the line and 51.9 percent (14-of-27) overall.
After its torrid start, Winthrop ended up at 32.3 percent (10-of-31) from the field during the first half.
Fisher-Davis contributed to Liberty's 22-0 advantage in bench points prior to the intermission.
Williams' 12 first-half points for Winthrop paced all players.
The Eagles gradually chipped away at their deficit during the second half, pulling to within seven points on two occasions. A Dequesha McClanahan jumper made it a 54-47 game with 8:42 to play.
Liberty countered with a 10-2 surge, featuring four points apiece by Katelyn Adams and Ashley Rininger. Adams' pair of free throws at the 6:22 mark bolstered the Lady Flames' edge to 64-49, and Liberty led by double digits the rest of the way.
The Lady Flames' cushion eventually reached 19 points during their 10th home win of the season. Liberty has now won 10 or more contests at the Vines Center for 12 straight seasons.
Winthrop entered the contest ranked No. 5 nationally for field goal percentage defense, but the Lady Flames shot extremely well from the field (51 percent on 26-of-51), three-point range (56.3 percent on 9-of-16) and the foul line (82.6 percent on 19-of-23).
The Eagles made 51.6 percent (16-of-31) of their second-half field goal attempts, finishing the game at 41.9 percent (26-of-62). However, Winthrop could not close the gap due to 23 second-half points by the tandem of Adams and Rininger and the Lady Flames' 85 percent (17-of-20) free throw shooting after the break.
Liberty doubled up Winthrop in rebounding in the second half (22-11), finishing with a 40-27 advantage on the glass. However, the Eagles tallied 30 points in the paint to the Lady Flames' 24 and converted Liberty's 20 turnovers into 24 points.
Adams led Liberty with a career-high 17 points, to go along with a career-high four steals and three assists.
Rininger scored all 13 of her points after halftime and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds for her second double-double in a row and her 15th of the season.
Fisher-Davis connected on four of her five three-point tries during a 13-point evening, while Mickayla Sanders' 10 points included two made triples.
Frazier accounted for Liberty's other three trifectas, totaling nine points. Simone Brown chased down eight rebounds, while Sadalia Ellis distributed a game-high seven assists on her 20th birthday.
McClanahan was limited to 7-of-23 field goal shooting, but ended up with 16 points. The senior guard is now just 10 points away from breaking Liberty alum Elena Kisseleva's Big South career scoring record of 2,154 points. McClanahan added six assists, five rebounds and five steals, while playing all 40 minutes.
Liberty will close out the regular season with a pair of road contests within the Commonwealth, beginning Thursday evening at Radford (7-20, 5-13 Big South). The Lady Flames will attempt to complete a season sweep of the Highlanders, after recording a 70-49 home win on Dec. 7. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. inside the Dedmon Center.