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Liberty Rebounds With 65-58 Victory Over Campbell
Tolu Omotola's fifth double-double of the season (15 points, 11 rebounds) and a dominating rebounding performance (+27 rebound margin) enabled Liberty to successfully bounce back from a loss to High Point. The Lady Flames claimed a 65-58 victory over Campbell, Saturday afternoon at the Vines Center.
Defense also played an important role in Liberty's win, as the Lady Flames held the nation's fourth-ranked team in three-point field goal percentage to 11.8 percent (2-of-17) from beyond the arc. The Lady Camels were also held 11 points below their season scoring average.
As a result, Liberty moves to within one-half game of conference-leading Longwood with a 6-2 Big South record. The Lady Flames finish the first 20 games of the season at 14-6.
Despite Tonisha Baker's game-high 21 points, Campbell dropped its second straight contest. The Lady Camels are now 12-6 overall and 4-3 in conference play.
Liberty scored the game's first four points, and Campbell's first lead did not come until the 14:22 mark, when Roslyn Presley's traditional three-point play made the score 7-6, Lady Camels.
The visitors' lead was short-lived, as Liberty answered with a 7-2 surge. The Lady Flames went in front by a 13-9 count at the 13:02 mark, when Omotola successfully converted a three-point play of her own.
Campbell came back to knot the game at 13-13 on Kiera Gaines' fast break layup at 11:59, before being held scoreless for the next 4:11. During that time, Liberty reeled off seven points to push its advantage to 20-13.
The Lady Flames stayed in front for the remainder of the half, with the lead fluctuating between three and nine points. Liberty's halftime lead stood at eight points (34-26) after a solid defensive opening period.
The Lady Flames held the Lady Camels to 27.3 percent (9-of-33) field goal shooting in the first half, including 0-of-8 from the three-point line. Liberty made 41.4 percent (12-of-29) of its first-half field goals, bolstered by 20 points in the paint.
Liberty also enjoyed advantages in rebounds (29-15) and bench points (15-8) before the intermission. Meanwhile, Campbell turned Liberty's 15 first-half turnovers into 10 points.
Omotola led all players with nine points during the opening half, while Devon Brown collected seven boards.
Gaines, Presley and Baker scored six points apiece for Campbell during the first 20 minutes.
Omotola opened the second-half scoring with an up-and-under move just 33 seconds into the period, providing Liberty its first double-digit advantage of the afternoon, 36-26.
Campbell battled back with a 9-2 surge, cutting the deficit to 38-35 when Zena Lovette converted a three-point play at 16:20.
Liberty then scored seven straight points, taking another 10-point lead (45-35) after Brittany Campbell's driving layup fell through the hoop with 12:52 remaining.
Again the Lady Camels came back, shaving the margin to 47-41 at the 10:33 mark, on two made free throws by Baker.
The Lady Flames more than doubled their lead with an ensuing 8-0 burst. Omotola's putback off of a missed free throw gave Liberty its largest lead of the game (55-41) at the 6:53 mark.
Baker scored six consecutive points to begin an 8-0 Campbell run. A driving left-handed layup by Gaines at 4:28 cut the margin to 55-49.
Liberty gave itself some breathing room by scoring the next five points. Ashley Rininger swished a free throw with 3:18 to play, pushing her team to a 60-49 cushion.
Both of Campbell's made three-pointers on the day came during the final 3:03, helping the Lady Camels get back within seven points on two occasions.
However, Liberty held off Campbell's comeback effort at the free throw line. Rininger and Brown combined to make five of six foul shots during the final 2:31, as the Lady Flames went on to wrap up a 65-58 triumph.
For the game, Campbell shot just 29 percent (20-of-69) from the field. Liberty was not too much better, at 34.5 percent (19-of-55), but the Lady Flames got to the foul line 34 times. Liberty made a season-best 25 of its free throws for 73.5 percent.
The Lady Flames outrebounded the visitors by a 59-32 count and converted 25 offensive boards into 22 second-chance points.
Ashley Rininger's 11 points, nine of which came from the free throw line, highlighted a 31-point total scored by Liberty's reserves.
Campbell came up with 17 steals on the day, leading to 20 points off of Liberty turnovers.
Omotola's 15 points led the Lady Flames, and Liberty is now 32-4 all-time when the redshirt senior scores in double figures.
Rininger's 11-point effort marked the fourth time in the last five games that the Buckeye State native has reached double figures.
Brown was limited to seven points but pulled down 11 rebounds and tallied a team-high three steals for the Lady Flames.
Katelyn Adams gave Liberty a productive 14 minutes off the bench, blocking a game-high three shots to go along with six points and five rebounds.
For Campbell, Baker was joined in double digits by Gaines, who finished with a dozen points. Presley added eight points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Liberty will not play again until next Saturday (Jan. 26), when the Lady Flames host their first-ever Big South Conference matchup against Longwood (9-9, 6-1 Big South). Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. for the first half of a doubleheader at the Vines Center. The Liberty men's basketball team will also be in action next Saturday, hosting Charleston Southern at 8 p.m.
Campbell will begin a four-game homestand Thursday at 7 p.m., when Radford (10-6, 5-2 Big South) visits Buies Creek. The homestand at the Pope Center will also include a visit from the Lady Flames, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.