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Buer, Brown Push Liberty Past Radford
Liberty's duo of Karly Buer and Simone Brown combined for 44 points, including 17 during the Lady Flames' game-ending 27-14 surge, Saturday afternoon at Radford. That helped Liberty turn a second-half deficit into a Big South Conference-opening 72-63 victory over the Highlanders inside the Dedmon Center.
Radford used a 16-2 run to go on top, 49-45, at the midway point of the second half. The Lady Flames answered with 12 straight points, going ahead for good against the feisty Highlanders.
Buer finished with a season-high 26 points and Brown added 18 tallies for Liberty (5-2, 1-0 Big South). The Lady Flames extended several streaks on Saturday, as they have now won three straight games overall, seven consecutive games against in-state opponents and eight straight matchups with the Highlanders.
Radford falls to 2-5 overall and 0-1 in Big South play despite an impressive performance on the glass. The Highlanders outrebounded Liberty, 47-29, becoming the first team since Baylor on Nov. 26, 2010 to outrebound the Lady Flames by 10 or more.
Buer scored 11 points during the first 6:21 of the matinee, helping the blue-clad Lady Flames race out to an early 17-6 advantage.
Liberty was still on top by 11 (32-21) before a 12-2 run by the Highlanders. Jayda Worthy scored the first five points of the surge, and Ayana Avery's fast break layup cut the Lady Flames' edge to 34-33, 1:09 before halftime.
Buer hit a pair of free throws and Ellee Rollins swished a triple, pushing Liberty's lead back up to six points (39-33) at the break.
Buer led all players with 15 first-half points. She made all six of her free throws, contributing to Liberty's 92.3 percent (12-of-13) shooting from the charity stripe during the first 20 minutes. Meanwhile, Radford made only one of two free throws prior to the intermission.
Sadalia Ellis came up with four steals in the first half, helping Liberty convert Radford's 10 turnovers into 16 points.
Avery was Radford's first-half leader with 10 points, while Jordynn Gaymon came off the bench to collect six rebounds. The Highlanders owned the edge in rebounds (17-15) and points in the paint (16-14) before halftime.
Liberty scored the second half's first four points, closing out an overall 9-0 run and extending its lead to 43-33 with 18:43 remaining.
Radford countered with its best run of the day, a 16-2 push spanning the next 8:30 of play. Avery scored eight points during the surge, including two triples. But it was an old-fashioned three-pointer by Claudia Quevedo which put the home team on top, 49-45, at the 10:13 mark.
The Lady Flames then fashioned a decisive 12-0 run, retaking the advantage for good. By the time Radford ended a 6:16 scoreless drought, Liberty's lead had reached 57-49. Brown scored the surge's final four points, including a layup with 4:15 on the second-half clock.
The Highlanders got no closer than six points down the rest of the afternoon, and Liberty made seven of its eight foul shot attempts in the final minute to seal its fifth consecutive win in a Big South opener.
For the game, Liberty shot well from the field (21-of-48 for 43.8 percent), three-point range (4-of-9 for 44.4 percent) and the foul line (26-of-31 for 83.9 percent). The Lady Flames set season highs for free throws made, free throws attempted and free throw percentage.
Radford hit six of its 14 three-point tries for 42.9 percent, but hit just 34.8 percent (24-of-69) of its field goals overall and 64.3 percent (9-of-14) from the charity stripe.
Gaymon finished with 14 rebounds for Radford, tying her career high. She helped the Highlanders rack up 24 offensive caroms and advantages in points in the paint (32-24) and second-chance points (17-7).
Aided by Ellis' career-high five steals, Liberty forced 21 Radford turnovers and converted the miscues into 27 points.
The Lady Flames blocked a season-high 10 shots on the afternoon. With two rejections, Ashley Rininger moved into sole possession of fifth place in program history with 96 career blocks.
Buer's 26 points were just one shy of her overall career high. The redshirt senior poured in 27 points for Missouri State against Wichita State on Feb. 10, 2012. Buer totaled three steals and made all eight of her free throw attempts. The Kansas native has scored in double digits in all seven of her games in a Liberty uniform.
Brown reached double figures for the third game in a row, notching 12 of her 18 points in the second half. She shot 10-of-10 from the free throw line, becoming the first Lady Flame to shoot 10-of-10 or better in a game since Avery Warley (who was in attendance at Saturday's game) went 12-of-12 at Charleston Southern on Jan. 16, 2012. Brown has now hit 15 straight free throw attempts over the last three games.
For Radford, Avery finished with 20 points and four triples. She is now tied for the Radford career record of 203 career three-pointers. Quevedo added a career-best 12 points.
Liberty will play its first Big South home game of the season on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m., when the Lady Flames host Gardner-Webb. The matchup with the Runnin' Bulldogs will be Liberty's only home game in the month of December.