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UNC Asheville Spoils Lady Flames' Senior Night With 54-51 Triumph
UNC Asheville, which had lost four of its last six games, won at Liberty for the first time since Feb. 12, 1990. The Bulldogs are now 16-11 overall and 7-5 in conference play. The Lady Flames had won the previous 24 match-ups with the Bulldogs overall. The visitors made 16 more free throws than Liberty, while becoming the first visiting conference team other than High Point to win at the Vines Center since Carey Green's first Big South game at Liberty, on Jan. 13, 2000 versus Elon.
Liberty falls to 17-10 overall and 9-3 in Big South Conference action. High Point, Radford and Liberty are now tied atop the conference standings with just two conference games remaining in the regular season.
Liberty committed 26 turnovers and shot a season-low 33.8 percent from the floor as the Lady Flames dropped a third Big South game for the first time since the 1996-97 season.
The first half featured two ties and five lead changes, as both teams struggled to find their shooting touch. Liberty made only six of its 26 first-half field goal attempts (23.1 percent), while UNC Asheville was 4-of-21 (19 percent).
Liberty scored the game's first two hoops, as Jamie Feagin and Megan Frazee each sank lay-ups in the first three minutes of play. Frazee's connection at the 17:22 mark gave the Lady Flames a 4-0 lead.
The home team would not score again for the next 6:17. In the meantime, the Bulldogs tallied seven-straight points, taking a 7-4 advantage on Tasha Branch's jump shot, 11:43 before halftime.
Liberty responded with an 8-2 surge, including six Megan Frazee tallies. Frazee's two free throws at 6:17 pushed the home team's lead to 12-9.
The Lady Flames then endured another long scoreless drought. They did not score another point until Rebecca Lightfoot made a pair of charity tosses at the 52-second mark. Prior to Lightfoot's foul shots, UNC Asheville had scored seven-consecutive points to take its largest lead of the opening half at 16-12.
Liberty notched the stanza's last four points, making the halftime score, 16-16, after Megan Frazee's lay-up with three seconds left.
Frazee totaled 10 points and seven rebounds before the intermission, leading all players in both categories.
Four different players scored three points apiece for UNC Asheville in the opening half. Ana Baker, a 5-6 guard, hauled in a team-best five boards.
Both teams improved their efficiency at the offensive end during the final 20 minutes, especially UNC Asheville, which shot 50 percent (10-of-20) from the field. Feagin recorded an old-fashioned three-point play on Liberty's first offensive possession of the half, giving Liberty a short-lived, 19-16 lead with 19:43 left.
UNC Asheville made its first three shots of the second half, the last of which was a Katie Baldwin three-pointer at the 18:14 mark. Her conversion, capping a 9-0 burst, lifted the Bulldogs to a 25-19 advantage.
The visitors still led by six before Liberty responded with nine-straight points. An Allyson Fasnacht jumper finished the surge with her team on top, 32-29, with 14:11 showing on the second-half clock.
The Lady Flames tied or held the lead for all, but 35 seconds until Kyla Jones kick-started a run of six-consecutive UNC Asheville markers with a jumper at the 5:09 mark.
Jones also closed the Bulldog surge with two foul shots with 2:50 remaining, making the score, 50-47 in favor of UNC Asheville.
Liberty scored four of the contest's next five points, knotting the score at 51 apiece on Molly Frazee's putback with exactly one minute left.
Jones made what turned out to be the game-winning free throw at the 42-second mark. Liberty did not get a chance to respond, as it made three turnovers during the last 39 seconds of play.
Amanda Elder then sealed UNC Asheville's win with a pair of free throws with three seconds remaining. In the second half, the Bulldogs went 16-of-24 from the free throw line, while Liberty was 2-of-4.
Megan Frazee's 10th double-double of the season went for naught. The sophomore led all players in both points (20) and rebounds (14). She grabbed six of the Lady Flames' 21 offensive boards and enabled Liberty to outrebound UNC Asheville by a 45-34 count.
Molly Frazee and Feagin chipped in with seven points apiece and contributed to Liberty's sizable, 38-14 edge in points in the paint.
Elder scored 10 of her team-best 13 points in the second half for the Bulldogs. Stacy Shepard added nine points, all of which came from the charity stripe. Baker ended up as her team's top rebounder with seven caroms.
Asheville took advantage of Liberty's miscues, owning a 22-13 advantage in points off turnovers. Brittany Hendley was the Bulldogs' most effective defender, coming up with four of her squad's 13 steals.
The back and forth contest saw a total of six ties and 13 lead changes.
Lady Flame seniors Jamie Feagin, Leslie Jones, Michelle Parker and Karolina Piotrkiewicz were honored prior to the start of their final home game. The quartet finished its Liberty career with wins in 50-of-56 games at the Vines Center. Liberty ended the year with a 10-3 home mark.
Liberty will play its final two regular season games away from home, beginning with a Monday evening contest at Birmingham-Southern. The Lady Flames' last Big South Conference match-up with the Panthers will tip off at 7 p.m.
UNC Asheville will close its season with a pair of home games before hosting the Big South Championship. The Bulldogs host Radford on Wednesday at 7 p.m.