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Liberty Scores Season-High 97 in Win at Longwood
Liberty's defense held Longwood without a made field goal for a 10:24 stretch of the first half, breaking open Saturday afternoon's women's basketball game with a 30-3 run during that time. The Lady Flames' offense did the rest of the work, setting season-highs for field goal percentage (60.3) and points scored during a 97-56 victory over the Lancers at Willett Hall.
The Lady Flames' ninth straight road win, combined with Winthrop's 84-69 home loss to Campbell, gives Liberty sole possession of first place in the Big South Conference standings at 10-2. Tolu Omotola (19 points) led five Lady Flames in double figures as Liberty improved to 18-6 overall on the year.
Longwood, which was limited to 25 percent (15-of-60) field goal shooting, falls to 9-15 overall and 6-7 in the Big South with its sixth consecutive setback.
After Longwood scored its first two points just 13 seconds into the game on an Erin Neal layup, Liberty responded with a 7-0 run. Omotola's putback layup at 17:37 put the red-clad Lady Flames in front, 7-2.
The Lancers tallied the game's next six points, retaking the lead at 8-7 on Mieke Elkington's three-pointer from directly in front of the Liberty bench at the 14:09 mark.
Liberty then held Longwood without a made field goal for the next 10:24, during which time the Lady Flames outscored the host team, 30-3. Reagan Miller highlighted the prolonged surge with three triples. Fellow Texan Emily Frazier then ended the run with a driving right-handed layup with 3:56 left in the half, making the score 37-11.
Raven Williams broke the Lancers' field goal drought with a three-pointer at 3:45, but Liberty continued to add to its advantage shortly thereafter. Terika Lunsford's jumper from the right corner bounced in 1:57 before halftime, pushing the Lady Flames' cushion to 29 points (45-16).
Longwood then outscored Liberty by an 8-3 margin during the remainder of the opening stanza, making the halftime score 48-24 when Elkington's three-pointer swished through the net as the buzzer sounded.
Liberty shot exceptionally well during the first 20 minutes of play, hitting 62.5 percent (20-of-32) of its field goals and 50 percent (5-of-10) from three-point range. Meanwhile, Longwood made just 21.9 percent (7-of-32) of its first-half field goal tries and 25 percent (3-of-12) of its triple attempts.
Liberty, which outrebounded Longwood during the first half by a 29-13 count, saw 10 different players score points. Miller and Omotola tallied nine points apiece, while Omotola collected seven rebounds before intermission.
Elkington's six points paced Longwood's first-half scoring, on two triples.
Devon Brown and Chelsea Coward went back and forth scoring points to start the second half, as Brown tallied seven of Liberty's first 12 tallies after halftime and Coward accounted for the Lancers' first eight points of the period.
After Coward's three-pointer at 17:13, Liberty went on a 9-1 run. Omotola's layup with 14:39 remaining ended the burst with the Lady Flames on top, 65-33.
The closest Longwood got the rest of the way was 28 points down (77-49), after a pair of Williams free throws at the 8:08 mark.
Liberty outscored the Lancers, 20-7, during the remainder of the game, closing out a 97-56 win. It was the fourth time that the Lady Flames have scored 90 or more points in a Big South game this season, including the second against Longwood.
In addition to its season-high field goal percentage, the Lady Flames also shot 61.5 percent (8-of-13) from beyond the three-point arc and 76 percent (19-of-25) from the charity stripe.
Liberty controlled the area around the basket, racking up sizeable advantages in rebounds (54-25), points in the paint (43-14) and second-chance points (45-9).
The Lady Flames totaled 45 bench points, as five different reserves scored six or more points.
Omotola tied for the game lead with 11 rebounds, completing her seventh double-double of the season. In the process, she became the 10th Lady Flame ever to grab 600 career boards. Omotola is now tied with Moriah Frazee for ninth place on Liberty's all-time list with 601 caroms.
Katelyn Adams also fashioned a double-double for the Lady Flames, consisting of a career high-tying 13 points and 11 boards. It was the redshirt freshman's second career double-double.
Brown chipped in 13 points of her own, while Miller tied her season high with 12 points on 4-of-4 three-point shooting.
Frazier rounded out Liberty's double-digit scorers with 10 points, while dishing out five assists.
Coward scored 14 of her 16 points during the second half to lead Longwood. Elkington chipped in 13 points for the Lancers, highlighted by four made triples.
Liberty will return home for a Thursday evening contest against Winthrop, beginning at 7 p.m. inside the Vines Center. The Eagles currently own second place in the Big South standings, one game behind the Lady Flames at 9-3. Liberty posted a 90-57 win at Winthrop on Dec. 29.
Longwood will wrap up a three-game homestand Thursday at 7 p.m., when Radford visits Willett Hall.