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Liberty's Road Success Continues at CSU, 92-33
Liberty extended its road winning streak to five games in impressive fashion, Thursday evening at Charleston Southern. Balanced scoring and dominance around the basket highlighted a 92-33 triumph over the Lady Buccaneers at the Buc Dome.
Seven Lady Flames scored eight or more points, paced by Brittany Campbell (career-high 14 points) and Ashley Rininger (14 points, 10 rebounds and career-high five blocked shots). Liberty also matched its largest rebound margin of the season at +35 (58-23) and blocked a season-high 12 shots.
Liberty improves to 12-5 overall and 4-1 in Big South play. Despite Lakeitha Alston's game-high 20 points, the homestanding Lady Buccaneers fall to 5-8 overall and 0-4 in the conference with their fourth loss in a row.
A pair of Campbell three-pointers keyed Liberty's 12-2 game-opening run. The Lady Flames' advantage reached double digits for the first time at 12-2, when Jasmine Gardner hit a contested layup at the 16:10 mark.
After a three-pointer by DJ Fowler, the Lady Flames reeled off seven consecutive points. Back-to-back hoops by Rininger punctuated the visitors' surge, including a layup at 13:00 which made the score 19-5, Liberty.
The Lady Flames' edge was still 14 points (25-11) before CSU went scoreless for more than six and a half minutes. Liberty scored 12 unanswered points during the timeframe, pushing its lead to 37-11 when Devon Brown hit two free throws, 2:43 before halftime.
Liberty's cushion got as large as 29 (42-13) before the red-clad visitors took a 45-17 halftime lead.
Liberty shot 51.5 percent (17-of-33) from the field during the first half, while holding the Lady Bucs to 18.8 percent (6-of-32) overall and just 6.7 percent (1-of-15) on three-point attempts.
The Lady Flames used their significant size advantage to post a 27-15 first-half rebounding advantage and block eight Charleston Southern shots, including three rejections apiece by Rininger and Katelyn Adams.
Campbell led Liberty's balanced first-half scoring attack with 10 points, while Tolu Omotola grabbed a half-best six rebounds.
Alston's eight points paced CSU, with teammate Monique Maximilien pulling down five rebounds before the break.
Alston tried to keep the Lady Buccaneers in the game in the second half, scoring 12 straight CSU points between the 18:50 and 11:37 marks. However, Charleston Southern could not chip away at the Liberty lead.
Fowler split a pair of free throws with 11:09 remaining, trimming Liberty's lead to 65-33. However, the home team did not score another point, as the Lady Flames closed out the contest with a 27-0 run.
Liberty's 59-point margin of victory (92-33) was the Lady Flames' most sizeable win since a 100-29 triumph over Virginia Union on Nov. 30, 2007.
The Lady Flames finished the game with season-high marks for field goal percentage (53.6 percent, 37-of-69) and three-point field goal percentage (63.6 percent, 7-of-11).
Conversely, Charleston Southern shot just 19.0 percent (11-of-58) from the floor and 14.3 percent (4-of-28) from beyond the three-point arc.
Liberty enjoyed a 48-4 advantage in points in the paint and scored 37 bench points to the Lady Bucs' 2.
The Lady Flames' dozen rejections fell just one shy of the program Division I record of 13. Rininger became the first Liberty player to turn away five shots in a game since Feb. 28, 2005. That day, Katie Feenstra blocked six Winthrop shots.
Rininger also posted her first career double-double, despite playing only 17 minutes on the night.
Campbell did not miss a shot during her career-best 14-point outing, hitting all six of her field goals and both of her three-point tries.
Gardner and Brown also scored in double figures for Liberty, doing most of their work after halftime. Gardner tallied nine of her 13 points during the second half, while Brown notched 10 of her dozen markers during the final 20 minutes of play.
Brown's 12 points enabled her to leapfrog Sharon Wilkerson for fourth place in Liberty history and 10th place in Big South Conference annals. Brown has now scored 1,737 career points.
Omotola tied Rininger for game-high rebounding honors with 10 boards, marking the redshirt senior's fourth double-digit rebound total in the last six games.
Alston and Fowler (eight points) combined to score all but five of Charleston Southern's points on the night.
Liberty will conclude its South Carolina swing Saturday at 2 p.m. with a game at Coastal Carolina (7-8, 2-3 Big South). The contest will mark the Lady Flames' first visit to The HTC Center, which will play host to the 2013 Big South Men's and Women's Basketball Championships in March.
Charleston Southern will face Big South newcomer Longwood for just the third time in program history, Saturday at 2 p.m. inside the Buc Dome.