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Fast Start Keys Liberty's 76-48 Win at Coastal
Liberty raced out to a 21-2 lead during the first 7:35 of Saturday's game against Coastal Carolina, and the home team never recovered. The Lady Flames went on to post a 76-48 victory in their first-ever visit to The HTC Center.
Devon Brown's game-high 15 points paced four double-digit scorers for Liberty, which improves to 13-5 overall and 5-1 in Big South action. The Lady Flames have now won three straight games overall, six consecutive road contests and 39 straight matchups against Coastal Carolina.
The Chanticleers, who were limited to 33.9 percent (19-of-56) field goal shooting on the day, lost for just the third time in their first-year home facility. Coastal Carolina is 7-9 overall and 2-4 in conference games.
Liberty held Coastal Carolina scoreless for the first 6:53 of Saturday's matinee, wrapping up a span of 18:02 holding its opponents without a point, dating back to Thursday's game at Charleston Southern.
The Lady Flames tallied the first 15 points of the game and opened up a 21-2 lead on Brown's jumper at the 12:19 mark of the first half.
Coastal Carolina posted a quick 7-1 run, including a baseline jumper by DJ Hunter at 10:12 that trimmed the deficit to 22-9.
Liberty responded with an 11-0 run, featuring eight points by Ashley Rininger. Terika Lunsford's jump shot from deep in the left corner at 7:03 pushed the Lady Flames' advantage to 33-9.
The Chanticleers tallied six of the next eight points, pulling to within 35-15 on a hoop by Hunter 5:03 before halftime.
The Lady Flames then answered by outscoring Coastal Carolina, 13-4, during the remainder of the half to take a 48-19 lead into the locker room.
Liberty shot a scorching 56.7 percent (17-of-30) from the field in the first half and also got to the foul line 21 times, hitting 14 of them for 66.7 percent. Coastal Carolina shot only 27.3 percent (9-of-33) from the floor and missed its only two first-half free throw tries.
Liberty won the first-half rebounding battle by a 29-13 count and scored 26 points in the paint.
Rininger paced Liberty's balanced scoring attack in the first 20 minutes, connecting on all five of her field goals for 10 points. Brown added nine tallies, while Tolu Omotola grabbed six rebounds and blocked four shots in the first half.
Katelyn Connor's six points topped Coastal Carolina's scoring chart during the opening period.
Liberty bolstered its lead to a game-high 35 points (66-31) on Katelyn Adams' old-fashioned three-point play with 9:49 remaining.
Adams' conversion was followed up with an 8-0 surge by the Chanticleers. Jena Hamrick's shot from just inside the three-point line tickled the twine at 7:38, making the score 66-39 in favor of the Lady Flames.
Coastal Carolina got as close as 25 points on two occasions, before Liberty closed out the 28-point victory (76-48). It was the Chanticleers' most sizeable defeat of the season, eclipsing a 26-point loss to North Carolina on Dec. 16.
Liberty totaled 168 points during its two wins on their two game road trip to South Carolina marking the most points it has ever scored on the Charleston Southern/Coastal Carolina road swing.
The Lady Flames' final field goal percentage for the game was 47.4 (27-of-57). Liberty also enjoyed a significant advantage at the foul line, making 20 of 29 attempts for 69 percent. Coastal Carolina got to the charity stripe only a dozen times, hitting eight of them for 66.7 percent.
Liberty outrebounded its 13th straight opponent, 46-28, and doubled up Coastal Carolina in points in the paint, 40-20.
Brown's 15 points moved her into ninth place in Big South history with 1,752 career points. She also topped all players with eight rebounds.
Fellow redshirt senior Omotola ended up with 12 points, six rebounds, a career-high four blocked shots and three steals for the Lady Flames.
Rininger and Brittany Campbell scored 10 points apiece for the victors. For Rininger, it was her third straight game scoring in double figures. Campbell shot a perfect six-for-six from the foul line.
AJ Jordan led Coastal Carolina in points (13), rebounds (5) and assists (3). Teammate Hunter chipped in nine points.
Liberty will play its next three games at the Vines Center, beginning with a rematch of the 2012 Big South Women's Basketball Championship title game on Thursday. The Lady Flames will host High Point (10-7, 4-2 Big South), with tipoff set for 7 p.m. The Panthers were the only Big South team to defeat the Lady Flames at the Vines Center in 2011-12, posting a 73-69 overtime triumph on Jan. 7, 2012.
Coastal Carolina will also play in Virginia next week, starting with a contest at Radford Thursday at 7 p.m.