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Liberty Hands Coastal Carolina 1st BSC Loss
Liberty raced out to a 25-5 lead, taking control of Saturday afternoon's game at Coastal Carolina early on. The Lady Flames went on to post a 71-62 triumph at The HTC Center, handing the Chanticleers their first Big South setback of the season and grabbing a share of the conference lead.
Reagan Miller scored 12 of her season-high 18 points after halftime, helping Liberty withstand the Chanticleers' furious comeback effort and improve to 8-6 on the year. The Lady Flames are now 4-1 in Big South play after posting their 41st straight victory in the head-to-head series with Coastal Carolina. The Liberty men's and women's basketball teams are now a combined 9-0 at The HTC Center since the facility opened last season.
Coastal Carolina is also 8-6 overall and 4-1 in conference action after seeing its three-game winning streak halted. The Chanticleers lost despite making a season-high 12 three-pointers. Megan Pittman made five of the triples during a career-high 19-point effort.
There is now a four-way tie atop the Big South standings, as Liberty, Coastal Carolina, Gardner-Webb and Winthrop are all 4-1.
All five Liberty starters scored points during the game's first five minutes, helping the visitors jump out to a 17-3 lead.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Simone Brown and Jaymee Fisher-Davis gave the Lady Flames a 20-point edge (25-5) at 10:35 of the first half.
Coastal Carolina responded with consecutive triples of its own, pulling to within 25-11 on Pittman's three-pointer, 8:57 before the intermission.
Liberty went on an extended 15-2 surge, pushing its advantage to 46-18 on a layup by Catherine Kearney at 1:37.
The Chanticleers notched the half's final five points, cutting their halftime deficit to 46-23.
Aided by 22 points in the paint, Liberty shot 56.3 percent (18-of-32) from the field before halftime. Liberty nailed five triples in the first half and owned a 23-18 rebounding edge.
Coastal Carolina hit five three-pointers of its own before the break but managed only one two-point field goal during the first 20 minutes. The Chanticleers made only 19.4 percent (6-of-31) of their first-half field goal tries.
Ashley Rininger paced the Lady Flames with eight points and seven rebounds in the first half. Pittman came off of the bench for a team-high eight points for Coastal Carolina.
The Chanticleers went on an 11-2 run midway through the second half, cutting their deficit to 59-44 on a hoop by AJ Jordan with 8:04 left.
Miller helped halt the Coastal Carolina momentum, scoring the Lady Flames' next five points on perimeter hoops late in the shot clock.
Coastal Carolina used three triples to fuel a late 9-2 burst, making it a 68-60 game on Pittman's fifth three-pointer of the afternoon, which swished through the net at the 41-second mark.
Miller went 4-of-4 from the free throw line during the final minute, helping to seal the Lady Flames' 71-62 victory.
Liberty finished the contest at 46.3 percent (25-of-54) from the field and made seven three-pointers. The Lady Flames were sparked by notable advantages in rebounds (42-32), points in the paint (30-12) and second-chance points (15-8).
Coastal Carolina shot very well from three-point range (12-of-28 for 42.9 percent) but ended up at just 33.3 percent (21-of-63) from the field on the day.
Miller made a season-best four triples for the Lady Flames, catapulting the junior to sixth place on Liberty's all-time list with 107 career three-pointers.
Rininger finished with her ninth double-double of the season and the 12th of her career, tallying 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Fellow post player Katelyn Adams chipped in eight points and seven rebounds, grabbing at least seven boards for the 12th straight game.
In total, nine Lady Flames scored four or more points in the contest.
Pittman paced three Chanticleers in double figures. Angelica Henry scored all 13 of her points after halftime. Meanwhile, Jordan, totaled 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Liberty will return home for its next two games, beginning on Thursday against Big South co-leader Gardner-Webb (9-5, 4-1 Big South). Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. for the Runnin' Bulldogs' first visit to the Vines Center since Feb. 25, 2012.