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Liberty Comes Back From 14 Points Down To Win At Birmingham-Southern
Liberty responded from a Saturday loss versus UNC Asheville and improved to 18-10 overall and 10-3 in conference action, putting the team in a first-place tie with High Point as Radford sits just one-half game back. The Lady Flames are now 13-0 all-time against Birmingham-Southern after putting four players in double figures.
Birmingham-Southern lost its final home game as a member of the Big South Conference and is 8-20 overall and 3-10 in conference action. They lost for the fourth time in their last five outings.
The homestanding Panthers, celebrating Senior Night, scorched the nets early. Senior Pam Thornborrow made back-to-back three-pointers to start the game for Birmingham-Southern, and the Panthers made five of their first six shots overall. Marisah Henderson banked in a shot from the paint at the 14:57 mark, lifting her team to a 14-6 advantage.
Megan Frazee made a lay-up off a Courtney Watkins assist with 13:31 remaining in the half, capping a quick, 4-0 Liberty burst and cutting the Lady Flames' deficit to 14-10.
Birmingham-Southern then ran off 10-consecutive points, pushing its advantage to 24-10 on a Henderson three-pointer as the shot clock expired, 11:19 before the intermission. Muneca Oliver, another of the Panthers' three seniors, recorded the first five markers of the surge.
The Lady Flames got back into the game with an 8-0 run of their own. The BSC lead stood at 26-20 at the conclusion of the surge, which included a pair of Rebecca Lightfoot hoops, the second of which came at 5:58. The Panthers were held without a point for 5:26 during that part of the opening half.
After a Reba Ross hoop ended Birmingham-Southern's scoreless drought, Liberty crafted a 10-2 surge. Allyson Fasnacht started the run with five-straight points and Megan Frazee wrapped it up with a deep triple. Her long-distance connection tied the game for the first time, 30-30, 56 seconds before the half.
The home team then responded by scoring the half's final five points. Henderson's basket with five seconds remaining made the halftime score, 35-30 in favor of Birmingham-Southern.
Liberty trailed at the half despite shooting 48.1 percent (13-of-27) from the field and outrebounding the Panthers by an 18-14 count. Birmingham-Southern took advantage of Liberty's 10 turnovers, converting the miscues into 15 points.
Fasnacht and Lightfoot paced the Lady Flames with six first-half points apiece. Jamie Feagin led the team with four rebounds.
Thornborrow led the Panthers with 11 points, including three of her team's five triples. Ross added a quartet of rebounds for Birmingham-Southern, which ended the half shooting 45.2 percent (14-of-31) from the floor.
Only four fouls were called before halftime, and the two teams shot just four free throws in the opening 20 minutes of action.
Megan Frazee opened the second-half scoring with a pair of foul shots just 23 seconds in, cutting the BSC lead to 35-32.
The Panther advantage increased to 11, 43-32, after a Henderson off-balance shot as the shot clock expired at the 16:03 mark.
Consecutive three-pointers by Molly Frazee and Courtney Watkins ignited an ensuing, 12-0 Liberty burst. The Lady Flames took their initial lead of the game, 44-43, on their final basket of the run, a Watkins fast break lay-up with 12:30 remaining.
Birmingham-Southern briefly retook the lead on a Mallory Morring three-pointer before Liberty scored eight out of the next nine points. A Watkins triple from the right corner at the 9:55 mark wrapped up the run with the Lady Flames on top, 52-47.
Liberty's lead reached eight points, 62-54, when Megan Frazee sank a jumper from the paint with 4:45 showing on the second-half clock.
The Panthers would get no closer than six the rest of the way. Liberty sank 8-of-10 free throws in the final 1:07, part of a 17-of-22 free throw effort (77.2 percent) in the second half, to seal its 79-66, road win.
The Lady Flames made 50 percent (14-of-28) of their field goals after the half and connected on four of their six three-point attempts. Liberty also outrebounded the Panthers, 26-11, to finish the game with a 44-25 edge under the glass. It was the seventh-straight time Liberty had outrebounded its opponent by 10 caroms or more.
Liberty's bench outscored its counterpart, 30-6, headed by Watkins' season-high 11 points, all of which came in the second half.
Megan Frazee led the Lady Flames with 14 points and six rebounds. Michelle Parker added 11 and Fasnacht 10, while Feagin paced the team with seven boards.
Ross led all players in both points (16) and rebounds (8) in a losing effort. Oliver and Henderson had 13 markers apiece for the Panthers, who shot just 35.5 percent (11-of-31) from the field and 16.7 percent (2-of-12) from three-point distance after halftime.
Birmingham-Southern came up with 16 steals and scored 29 points off Liberty turnovers. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames outscored the Panthers, 21-6, on second-chance points.
All 10 players who saw action scored for the Lady Flames, who owned a 49-31 scoring advantage after halftime.
Birmingham-Southern will close its regular season schedule on Saturday at UNC Asheville. Tip-off between the Panthers and Bulldogs is set for 2 p.m. at the Justice Center.
The Lady Flames will also play their final regular season game away from home. Liberty will attempt to complete a season sweep of Radford at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The Lady Flames took a 79-66 decision from the Highlanders on Jan. 27.