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Liberty Picks Up 1st Win of Season at Kutztown
Liberty used a team effort to notch its first win of the 2013-14 season, Monday evening at Kutztown. Nine different Lady Flames scored four or more points during Liberty's 72-56 victory inside Keystone Arena.
Ashley Rininger led the way for Liberty with her fourth straight double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds), helping the Lady Flames improve to 1-4 on the year.
Kutztown, which saw four of its five starters score in double figures, remains at 3-2 as the NCAA Division II Golden Bears classified the game as an exhibition.
Two free throws by Alyssa Bonenberger at 14:11 capped off an early 8-0 run by Kutztown, giving the Golden Bears a 13-7 advantage.
Liberty fought back and reclaimed the lead for good on Ashley Rininger's reverse layup at the 7:06 mark during a 13-3 surge. Jaymee Fisher-Davis punctuated the run with her first points of the season, a three-pointer from the right wing which tickled the twine and gave the Lady Flames a 29-24 edge, 5:10 before halftime.
After Nicole Donahue's third hoop of the opening half connected at 4:10, blue-clad Liberty opened up a bit of breathing room with a 7-0 run. A long triple by Sadalia Ellis gave the Lady Flames their first double-digit lead of the evening, 36-26, with 1:07 on the clock.
Liberty took a 38-30 advantage into the intermission, thanks in large part to a 29-15 rebounding advantage.
The Lady Flames shot just 38.9 percent (14-of-36) from the field during the opening 20 minutes but made four triples and connected on six of seven free throws for 85.7 percent. Liberty also limited homestanding Kutztown to 34.4 percent (11-of-32) field goal shooting during the first half.
Eight different Liberty players scored points during the opening stanza, paced by Ellis and Rininger with eight points apiece. Rininger and Katelyn Adams each pulled down a half-dozen first-half rebounds for the Lady Flames.
Bonenberger and Donahue each notched eight points during the opening half to lead Kutztown's offensive attack.
Starting guards Jess Harvey and Natalya Lee combined to score seven points during the first two minutes after halftime, trimming the Golden Bears' deficit to four, 41-37, at the 18:01 mark.
Liberty still led by four points before consecutive Mickayla Sanders trifectas highlighted a 12-0 Lady Flames burst. Emily Frazier's layup with 13:43 showing on the clock bolstered the visitors' advantage to 55-39.
Liberty's lead eventually reached 18 points (65-47) when Catherine Kearney split a pair of free throws exactly halfway through the second half.
Kutztown sliced the deficit to a dozen points on two occasions down the stretch, but the Lady Flames were able to close out a 72-56 win in their first-ever meeting with Kutztown.
Liberty utilized its considerable size advantage to good effect, finishing with a 52-29 rebounding advantage and doubling up Kutztown in points in the paint (32-16). A season-high 12 players saw action for head coach Carey Green's team, leading to a 20-3 Liberty edge in bench points.
The Lady Flames shot 39.4 percent (26-of-66) from the floor, as compared to 37.1 percent (23-of-62) for their host. Liberty drained a season-high eight three-pointers and made 80 percent (12-of-15) of its free throw tries.
Ellis and Frazier joined Rininger in double digits with 10 points each. Frazier added a season-high seven assists, while Ellis came up with a team-best three steals.
Kearney shared the game lead in rebounds with Rininger at 10, equaling her career high. Sanders contributed nine points on a trio of second-half three-pointers.
Harvey (12 points), Lee (12 points), Bonenberger (10 points) and Donahue (10 points) marked Kutztown's quartet of double-figure scorers. Lee distributed six assists, while Advia Campbell topped the Golden Bears with six rebounds.
Liberty will conclude its road trip by playing in the Seton Hall Thanksgiving Tournament, Friday and Saturday at Walsh Gymnasium in South Orange, N.J. The Lady Flames will match up against reigning Mountain West champion Fresno State (2-2) in the tournament's opening game, Friday at 2 p.m.