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Hot Shooting Propels Lady Flames to Blowout Victory
The Lady Flames, who had a dozen players score, improved to 15-9 overall and 7-2 in Big South action. Liberty also moved into a three-way tie with High Point and Radford for the conference lead.
Winthrop, which lost for the 24th-straight time to Liberty and for the seventh-consecutive time overall, is 4-21 and 1-8 in conference games.
Liberty connected on its first three shots of the game and took advantage of a trio of Winthrop turnovers. The Lady Flames led, 7-0, after Megan Frazee capped their game-opening surge with a baseline jumper just 1:56 in, necessitating an early Eagle timeout.
Tiffany Rodd scored all of Winthrop's points during her team's ensuing 5-2 burst. Her steal and lay-up 14:51 before halftime cut the deficit to 9-5.
The Lady Flame advantage stood at nine, 14-5, after Molly Frazee sank a pair of free throws at the 13:38 mark, wrapping up a run of five-consecutive Liberty points.
The Eagles got back to within five before going scoreless for a span of 4:19. During that stretch, Liberty tallied six points. Molly Frazee's fast break lay-up with 8:53 showing on the clock pushed the visitors' lead to double digits for the first time, 20-9.
Liberty, which had shot just 35 percent in each of its previous two contests, scorched the nets early on. The Lady Flames made nine of their first 11 field goals, including all four tries from beyond the three-point arc.
Back-to-back triples by Rebecca Lightfoot and Courtney Watkins increased the Liberty lead to 26-11 at 6:47.
Ashley Fann responded with a three-pointer for Winthrop with 5:15 left before the intermission, finishing a spurt of four-consecutive points for the homestanding Eagles and shaving the Liberty edge to 26-15.
Six Lady Flames contributed to a 13-3 run which featured a pair of three-pointers. Liberty's advantage was 39-18 when Allyson Fasnacht made a free throw at the 1:13 mark.
The teams exchanged field goals during the opening stanza's final minute, sending the Lady Flames into the locker room with a 41-21 lead. The 20-point margin was Liberty's largest halftime lead since the Lady Flames outscored Columbia Union, 47-8, during the first 20 minutes of their Nov. 16 match-up.
The Lady Flames' lead could have been larger were it not for 13 turnovers, which led to 10 of Winthrop's points. When Liberty was able to hang onto the ball, it was brutally efficient at the offensive end.
Liberty finished the first half shooting 70 percent (14-of-20) from the field, including six-of-eight from three-point range. Lightfoot and Roli-Ann Nikagbatse each canned a pair of triples before halftime for the Lady Flames, who had not made more than eight three-pointers in an entire game all season.
Megan Frazee paced Liberty with nine first-half points, on just three field goal attempts. Lightfoot and Nikagbatse each pulled down three of the Lady Flames' 16 rebounds.
Fann highlighted Winthrop's performance during the first half, leading her team in both points (8) and rebounds (4).
After Shelly Hankins made a bank shot on Winthrop's opening possession of the second half, Liberty ran off the next six points in succession. Their lead had expanded to 47-23 after Fasnacht's jumper with 1:55 elapsed. Winthrop would get no closer than 21 points down the rest of the way.
Six-straight Liberty markers, four of which were Fasnacht free throws, pushed the Lady Flames' edge to 59-31 at the 12:43 mark.
The Lady Flame lead reached 30 for the first time, 67-36, with 9:52 showing on the second-half clock, after Courtney Watkins made both ends of a one-and-one from the line.
Watkins' successful charity tosses came during the midst of a 7-0 Liberty run, which ended with the Lady Flames on top by a game-high 33 points.
Winthrop scored nine of the contest's next 10 markers, cutting the deficit to 70-45 when Amy Drake split a pair of free throws with 3:11 remaining.
Liberty went on to win by that same 25-point margin, 77-52, after shooting 50 percent or better for the fourth time this season. The Lady Flames also made 82.1 percent (23-of-28) of their free throws.
Moriah Frazee led the Lady Flames in scoring for the second-consecutive outing, pacing Liberty's balanced attack with a dozen points. Megan Frazee added 11 points and came up with three of the Lady Flames' season-high 18 steals.
Jamie Feagin's seven boards were a team high and helped Liberty achieve a 34-22 rebounding edge.
Fann ended up with a game-high 17 points and four steals for Winthrop. Ashley Haugtvedt came off the bench for a team-best five caroms.
Both teams ended up with 26 turnovers. Liberty turned Winthrop's miscues into 30 points.
Winthrop will travel north for its next game, a Saturday contest at UNC Asheville which is scheduled for a 2 p.m. tip-off.
The Lady Flames will return to Lynchburg for three-straight home games, marking their longest homestand of the season. Liberty will entertain Coastal Carolina Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Vines Center in an attempt to complete a season sweep of the Chanticleers.