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Team Effort Keys Liberty's 10th Straight Road Win
Eleven different players scored points Thursday evening for Liberty, helping the Lady Flames post a 75-43 victory at UNC Asheville. The win inside Kimmel Arena was the Lady Flames' program record-equaling 10th consecutive road triumph.
Liberty, which has not lost a road game since Nov. 23 at Baylor, was paced by the redshirt senior tandem of Tolu Omotola (14 points) and Devon Brown (13 points). The Lady Flames are now 21-6 overall and 13-2 in Big South play after their eighth straight victory.
Despite a career-high tying 18 points from freshman Paige Love, the Bulldogs fall to 2-25 on the year and 0-16 in the Big South. Asheville has lost 18 straight games overall and 28 straight matchups with Big South foes.
The Lady Flames scored the first six points of the evening, including back-to-back perimeter jumpers by Brown. However, triples by Love and Grace Blaylock for the Bulldogs trimmed the home team's deficit to 8-6 at the 16:59 mark.
Omotola scored eight points during Liberty's ensuing 13-2 surge, including a turnaround jumper at 12:45 which made the score 21-8, Lady Flames.
The Bulldogs were still within 14 (26-12) before Liberty broke the game open with a 15-2 run. A floater by Sadalia Ellis swished through the net 2:45 before halftime, putting the Lady Flames in front, 41-14.
Back-to-back three-point plays by Asheville's Kelli Riles closed out the first half's scoring and made the halftime score 41-20, Liberty.
Liberty shot 64.3 percent (18-of-28) during the first half, aided by 18 points in the paint and 15 points off of the Bulldogs' nine turnovers. Meanwhile, Asheville made 25.9 percent (7-of-27) of its first-half field goal tries.
The Lady Flames won the first-half rebounding battle by a 19-11 count and scored 15 bench points to the home team's two.
Brown scored nine points to lead all scorers in the first half, followed by Omotola's eight markers. Katelyn Adams and Jasmine Gardner grabbed five rebounds apiece for the Lady Flames.
Love topped Asheville's first-half scoring chart with seven points.
Brown and Omotola scored all of the Lady Flames' points during an 8-2 burst to start the second half. A Brown layup with 15:34 on the clock pushed the Liberty edge to 49-22.
The Bulldogs scored the next five points, making it 49-27 on Abra Sickles' hoop inside the paint at the 13:55 mark.
Liberty answered with a 12-0 run, and the visitors' lead reached 61-27 on a free throw by Ashley Rininger with 8:56 to play.
Asheville got no closer than 29 points the rest of the way, and the Lady Flames defeated the Bulldogs for the 13th straight time, 75-43.
The Lady Flames made 50.8 percent (31-of-61) of their field goal tries on the night, including six made triples from five different players. One of Liberty's lone black marks on the final stat sheet came at the foul line, where the Lady Flames shot just 53.8 percent (7-of-13).
The Bulldogs finished at 34 percent (16-of-47) field goal shooting and made all but one of their seven foul shots.
Liberty's efficient offensive performance featured 24 assists on 31 made baskets, 36 points in the paint, 35 points off Asheville turnovers and 32 bench points.
After being outrebounded for the first time in 21 games on Saturday against Radford, Liberty bounced back to post a 40-25 rebounding edge against Asheville.
Omotola's 14 points put her in double digits for the 10th straight game. She became the 16th Lady Flame ever to reach 900 career points and now has 905 tallies to her credit. Omotola also pulled down seven boards in her 20 minutes of work.
Brown, who played only 16 minutes, moved to within one point of Megan Frazee on the Liberty and Big South all-time scoring lists. The Waynesboro, Va., native, who has scored 1,882 career points, added three assists and four steals.
Playing without starting point guard Emily Frazier due to injury, Liberty filled in nicely with the duo of Reagan Miller and Ellis. The pair combined for 14 points, 10 assists, five steals and only one turnover.
The post tandem of Gardner and Adams also provided impressive production for the Lady Flames. Gardner ended up with eight points and a matching number of rebounds, pacing Liberty in the rebound column for the second straight game. Adams contributed nine points and seven boards off the bench.
To complement Love's production for Asheville, Riles also had a solid game after being honored as a member of the 1,000-point/1,000-rebound club prior to tipoff. The senior post player closed the contest with eight points and eight rebounds, moving into fourth place in Big South history with 1,017 career caroms.
Liberty will play its final road game of the 2012-13 regular season on Saturday at Gardner-Webb. Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m. inside Paul Porter Arena for the only regular-season meeting between the Lady Flames and Runnin' Bulldogs this year.
UNC Asheville will close out its home schedule for the season Saturday at 2 p.m., when Longwood visits Kimmel Arena.