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Liberty Wins 7th Straight, 63-41 at PC
Liberty became just the second visiting team to win at Presbyterian's Templeton Center in 2014-15, thanks to an efficient offense and a stifling defensive effort Saturday evening. The Lady Flames shot 51 percent from the field, committed just 10 turnovers and held PC to 28 percent shooting during a workmanlike 63-41 road victory.
Ashley Rininger got the Lady Flames off to a fast start, scoring 14 of her game-high 16 points before halftime. Sadalia Ellis (10 points) and Simone Brown (9 points) then helped Liberty close out the Blue Hose, scoring all of their points during the final 20 minutes.
Liberty, which has now won a season-high seven straight games, improves to 19-6 overall and 15-1 in Big South play. The Lady Flames lead the Big South standings by three games with four contests remaining.
Presbyterian's overall record evens at 13-13, while the Blue Hose fall to 8-9 in Big South play. No one scored in double figures for PC, which is now 10-2 at home this season.
Rininger scored 10 points during the first 3:54 of the contest, helping Liberty take an early 12-8 advantage.
The Blue Hose bounced back to even things up at 12-12 on Cortney Storey's second triple of the early-going, 13:02 before halftime.
PC then went more than eight minutes before making its next field goal. During that time, Liberty went on an 11-2 run, pushing its lead to 23-14 when Katelyn Adams made a layup at 6:45.
The Blue Hose pulled to within seven points three times, including at 27-20, before Liberty closed the opening stanza with a 7-1 burst. Mickayla Sanders' triple from the right wing 24 seconds before halftime gave the red-clad Lady Flames a 34-21 advantage at the intermission.
Liberty shot 53.6 percent (15-of-28) from the field before halftime, aided by 22 points in the paint. Conversely, PC shot only 29.2 percent (7-of-24) from the floor during the first 20 minutes.
Storey's eight points topped Presbyterian's first-half scoring chart.
A Rebecca Walker trifecta and an old-fashioned three-point play by Janie Miles trimmed PC's deficit to 40-29 with 15:31 on the second-half clock.
Liberty then outscored the Blue Hose, 11-4, over the next 5:08. Ellis, coming off the bench for the first time this season, scored eight points during the run, capped off by a nifty three-point play with 10:23 to play. Her conversion bolstered the Liberty advantage to 51-33.
Presbyterian got no closer than 14 the rest of the evening, as the Lady Flames dealt the Blue Hose their largest setback (22 points) of the season. Liberty has now held 10 of 16 Big South opponents below the 50-point mark.
The Lady Flames, who finished at 51 percent (25-of-49) from the field, are now 99-1 under head coach Carey Green when making at least half of their field goals. Liberty scored 30 points in the paint and 23 bench points.
PC shot 14-of-50 for 28 percent, including 26.7 percent (4-of-15) from three-point range.
Liberty grabbed 34 rebounds to Presbyterian's 31, outrebounding their 14th consecutive opponent.
Rininger's 16 points boost the redshirt junior's career total to 985. She is just 15 points shy of becoming the 15th Lady Flame ever to score 1,000 career points. Rininger also accounted for three of Liberty's eight blocked shots.
With her 10 points, Ellis has now scored in double digits in five of her last six outings.
Karly Buer made all three of her free throws as part of a seven-point game. The redshirt senior has now connected on 21 straight foul shots, putting her just one shy of Jennifer Fairfax's program record of 22 consecutive made free throws in 1991.
Katelyn Adams topped all players with eight rebounds, while Emily Frazier's five assists were a game high. Frazier has recorded 14 assists and zero turnovers in two meetings with Presbyterian this season.
Elizabeth Landers paced the Blue Hose in both points (9) and rebounds (6). Storey ended the game with eight points after being held scoreless after halftime.
Liberty will travel east on Route 460 for its next game, Tuesday evening at Longwood. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Willett Hall, where the Lady Flames will attempt to complete a regular-season sweep of the Lancers. Liberty recorded a 70-48 home win over Longwood on Jan. 13.
A Lady Flames win on Tuesday would accomplish a number of things. It would enable Liberty to clinch the No. 1 seed for the Big South Women's Basketball Championship and at least a share of the regular-season conference title. The Lady Flames will also be aiming for their eighth straight 20-win campaign and their 16th Big South victory, which would tie the conference record for most Big South wins in a single season.