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Seniors Star in Liberty's 90-57 Win at Winthrop
Liberty seniors Devon Brown, Tolu Omotola and Brittany Campbell all set or tied their career scoring highs, combining for 67 points during the Lady Flames' impressive 90-57 victory over Winthrop, Saturday afternoon at the Winthrop Coliseum.
Brown (game-high 32 points) and Omotola (24 points, game-high 12 rebounds) both established new career highs, while Campbell equaled her career best with 11 tallies.
Liberty never trailed during the matinee, improving to 10-4 overall and 2-0 in Big South play. The Lady Flames have now won four straight road games and three consecutive contests overall. Liberty also avenged its lone Big South road loss from the 2011-12 season in the process.
Winthrop had won seven consecutive home tilts and three straight games overall before Saturday. The Eagles fall to 6-5 overall and 1-1 in the Big South despite a season-high 27 points from Big South Preseason Player of the Year Dequesha McClanahan and five triples by Diana Choibekova.
Liberty scored on each of its first three trips to the offensive end, taking a 5-0 lead when Jasmine Gardner split a pair of foul shots at 18:47.
Homestanding Winthrop did not make a field goal until the 11:33 mark, when McClanahan hit a baseline jumper. Before her hoop, the Lady Flames had built an 18-3 edge, with Brown scoring nine of the visitors' points.
Liberty's lead got as large as 18 points (23-5), on Campbell's triple from right in front of the Winthrop bench with 10:20 remaining in the opening half.
Choibekova helped the Eagles battle back with her three-point shooting. She made a trio of triples during a 14-4 surge that trimmed Winthrop's deficit to 27-19 at 4:31.
The Eagles did not make another field goal for the remainder of the opening stanza, enabling Liberty to push its cushion back to 17 points (38-21) by halftime with an 11-2 run to end the period.
Brown led all players with 16 first-half points, while Omotola chipped in six markers for the Lady Flames, who shot 43.2 percent (16-of-37) from the field before halftime.
Choibekova scored nine points during the opening half, on a trio of three-pointers. McClanahan added seven tallies, with five of her points coming from the foul line. As a team, Winthrop hit only five field goals before halftime, shooting 17.2 percent (5-of-29).
Omotola helped Liberty get off to a strong start after halftime, tallying six points during a 10-4 surge that pushed the blue-clad Lady Flames' lead over 20 points for the first time. Campbell's trifecta from the right wing at 16:43 gave Liberty a 48-25 cushion.
Three-pointers helped Winthrop chip away at the Liberty advantage. Three triples during a span of 2:15, including one by McClanahan at the 11:15 mark, made the score 55-40 in favor of the blue-clad Lady Flames.
The Lady Flames then started getting points in quantities of three themselves. Three-point plays by Brown and Katelyn Adams and a trifecta by Campbell kick-started an 11-2 Liberty surge. Omotola's layup with 9:36 left bolstered Liberty's lead to 66-42.
McClanahan and Samiya Wright hit jump shots on Winthrop's next two possessions, making it a 66-46 game with 8:20 left.
That was close as the Eagles got the rest of the way, as the Lady Flames eventually pushed their lead to the final margin of 33 points (90-57). The contest marked Winthrop's biggest defeat of the season, beating out a 78-53 loss at Ohio State on Nov. 17.
Liberty foiled Winthrop's comeback efforts by shooting the ball extremely well after halftime. The Lady Flames made 62.1 percent (18-of-29) of their field goals and 62.5 percent (5-of-8) of their three-point attempts during the game's final 20 minutes.
Liberty shot over 50 percent from the field for the third consecutive game, ending up at 51.5 percent (34-of-66). The Lady Flames also hit 42.1 percent (8-of-19) of their triple tries on the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Liberty limited Winthrop to a season-low 30 percent (18-of-60) from the floor. It was the seventh time this season that the Lady Flames have kept an opponent to 30 percent or below in field goal percentage.
The Lady Flames won the rebounding battle by a 51-31 count, racked up 44 points in the paint and scored 20 second-chance points versus the Eagles.
Brown, who scored 16 points during each half, became the first Lady Flame to go over the 30-point mark since March 6, 2009. That day, Megan Frazee finished with 30 points against Radford. Brown also grabbed eight rebounds and hit four triples.
Omotola's career-high 24 points came on 10-of-12 field goal shooting and featured 18 second-half markers. The Houston native has now scored in double digits in six straight games and has recorded three double-doubles in a row.
Campbell drained three trifectas as she tied her career best with 11 points. Her previous 11-point output came on Nov. 28, 2008 against Hartford.
Redshirt freshman post players Adams (7 points, 6 rebounds) and Ashley Rininger (9 points, 9 rebounds) helped Liberty's bench outscore Winthrop's reserves, 19-2.
Emily Frazier paced the Lady Flames' 22-assist afternoon with five helpers, giving the redshirt sophomore 31 assists in her last four outings.
For Winthrop, McClanahan scored 20 of her 27 points during the second half. Choibekova totaled 17 points, while tying Schaquilla Nunn for team-high honors with seven rebounds.
Liberty will return home for a pair of Big South Conference games next week, beginning with a Thursday matchup against Presbyterian College (7-6, 2-0 Big South). Tipoff for the Lady Flames' only contest against the Blue Hose during the 2012-13 regular season is slated for 7 p.m. at the Vines Center. Liberty is 9-0 all-time against Presbyterian College.
Meanwhile, Winthrop will close out the calendar year 2012 on Monday, when the Eagles travel to Saint Louis for a non-conference tilt. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m. Eastern for the first of six straight road games for the Eagles.