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Radford Uses Hot Outside Shooting To Upend Liberty In Regular Season Finale
Radford, which recorded its first win over the Lady Flames in its last 16 tries, is now 18-10 overall and 10-4 in Big South Conference action. The Highlanders scored more points (77) than any Lady Flame opponent this season.
Liberty wraps up the regular season at 18-11 and is also 10-4 in conference games. The Lady Flames and Highlanders will tie for second in the final conference standings if High Point beats Winthrop later tonight and will share the conference title if High Point falls.
Lost in the defeat was one of the best statistical performances of Megan Frazee's career. The Liberty sophomore guard/forward finished with 27 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, making a career-best four three-pointers.
Radford, starting all four of its seniors on Senior Day, opened the game with three-straight triples. Two of the Highlanders' long-distance connections came courtesy of Earp, whose three at the 17:10 mark lifted her team to a 9-0 lead and prompted and early timeout by Liberty Head Coach Carey Green.
The Radford edge reached 11-0 before Allyson Fasnacht recorded the Lady Flames' first points on a jumper from the paint, 3:45 into the game.
After Fasnacht's basket, the Highlanders scored five more points, taking a 16-2 lead with 14:43 showing on the first-half clock, when Sarah Stephens sank a pair of free throws.
Liberty cut its deficit to single digits, 16-7, by tallying the next five markers, the final three of which came on a Megan Frazee three-pointer at 13:35.
Radford then crafted a 19-2 run, featuring three-consecutive three-pointers by Earp, taking a 34-9 lead when Corrie Fertitta hit a pair of foul shots, 6:01 before halftime.
The Lady Flames did not score a point for 7:02 before Megan Frazee's second three-pointer of the half broke the drought with 5:43 remaining. Her hoop ignited a quick, 6-1 burst which got Liberty back within 20 points, 35-15.
The home team then closed the half by scoring 12 of the last 14 markers, including five by Fertitta, to take a 47-17 halftime lead.
Radford shot 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) during the opening half, including 8-of-10 (80 percent) from behind the three-point arc. The Highlanders also outrebounded the Lady Flames, 26-16.
Earp made five first-half three-pointers, totaling a game-high 15 points. The Highlanders' 47 points in the first stanza were the most any team has scored against Liberty in a half this season. The Lady Flames were only giving up 55.6 ppg before Saturday.
Meanwhile, Liberty shot just 7-of-35 (20 percent), as it had five shots blocked, four by Kelli Darden. Megan Frazee led the team with nine points and five rebounds during the first 20 minutes of action.
The two teams went back-and-forth early in the second half before Liberty went on an 8-0 run, concluding with Megan Frazee's three-pointer at 10:20, trimming the Highlander lead to 58-35.
Radford pushed its advantage back to 28 points, 64-36, by notching six of the game's next seven tallies. Fertitta's two charity tosses with 9:04 left capped the mini-run.
Four-straight points by the Lady Flames, including a left-handed hook by Egle Smigelskaite, cut the deficit to 75-54 at 2:04.
Sarah Stephens then finished the scoring with a pair of free throws with 1:07 remaining, giving the homestanding Highlanders a 77-54 victory.
A trio of Radford players reached double figures, paced by Earp's 20 points. Fertitta added 15 points, while Darden totaled 13 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and three steals.
The Highlanders shot 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) from the three-point line for the game and attempted 38 free throws to Liberty's 11, making 27 of them.
Frazee totaled 18 points and 11 rebounds after halftime and helped Liberty even up the rebounding count, 39-39. No other Liberty player scored more than five points, though.
Liberty shot a season-low 32.3 percent (21-of-65) from the field for the game, despite making 46.7 percent (14-of-30) of their tries after the intermission.
Both Liberty and Radford will now prepare for the Big South Women's Basketball Championship. The three-day event will begin Thursday at UNC Asheville's Justice Center, with the first of four quarterfinal tilts set to begin at noon. The official tournament bracket will be set after all of today's games are completed.