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Liberty Holds Off PC, 59-51
|Emily Frazier contributed 16 points, five assists and four rebounds to Liberty's 59-51 win over Presbyterian College.|
The Liberty duo of Emily Frazier and Ashley Rininger helped the Lady Flames withstand a furious second-half comeback by Presbyterian College, Saturday evening at the Vines Center. Liberty held on for a 59-51 victory, taking over sole possession of first place in the Big South standings.
Rininger posted her fourth straight double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Frazier added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. As a result, Liberty improved to 10-6 overall and 6-1 in Big South play, taking a one-half game lead atop the conference standings.
The Lady Flames, who were able to avenge a home loss to PC from the 2012-13 season, have now won four straight games overall and five consecutive contests at the Vines Center.
Presbyterian College cut a 16-point second-half deficit to four, but fell to 3-13 overall and 1-6 in the Big South with its 10th straight road setback. Senior guard Karlee Taylor led PC's charge, scoring 16 of her career-high 24 points during the second half. She also matched her career high with six three-pointers, tying the Vines Center single-game record by an opposing player.
Keyonna Allen scored from close range on Presbyterian College's first offensive possession, but the Blue Hose then missed their next seven field goal attempts. Liberty outscored the Blue Hose, 7-1, during that span, taking a 10-3 lead on Rininger's old-fashioned three-point play at the 14:56 mark.
The Lady Flames experienced a scoring drought of 5:12, enabling PC to pull within 12-9 on a Noelle Carter jumper, 12:20 before halftime.
Frazier helped Liberty maintain the advantage, having a hand in five straight Lady Flames' hoops, including seven points and two assists.
Liberty's lead got as large as nine (26-17) before PC got to within 29-23 at the intermission.
The Lady Flames made 41.7 percent (10-of-24) of their first-half field goal attempts, as compared with 26.7 percent (8-of-30) for the visiting Blue Hose.
Liberty won the first-half rebounding battle by a 23-19 count, but the Lady Flames were limited to 10 points in the paint.
Frazier led all players with 10 points during the opening half, while Rininger and Katelyn Adams snagged five rebounds apiece.
Taylor's eight first-half points paced the Blue Hose, while Allen pulled down seven rebounds in just eight minutes of action.
Liberty opened the second half with an 8-0 spurt. Rininger scored six of those points, including a finger roll with 15:53 to play which gave the Lady Flames a 37-23 edge.
Taylor scored five points during Liberty's ensuing 7-0 surge, including a mid-range jumper at 13:28 that made it 37-30, Lady Flames.
Rininger tallied six more points during the next 3:56, helping Liberty outscore PC 12-3. Her hoop at the 9:32 mark lifted the Lady Flames' cushion to 16 points, 49-33.
The Blue Hose responded again, countering with a 16-4 run which included eight points by Taylor. The senior's trifecta with 2:16 to play made it just a four-point game at 53-49.
However, Frazier and Adams combined to make all six of their free throw attempts during the final 1:04, enabling Liberty to hold on for a 59-51 triumph.
The Lady Flames scored 16 points in the paint after halftime, helping them pull their final field goal percentage up to 44.4 percent (20-of-45). Liberty also connected on eight of its nine free throw tries after halftime, finishing the game at 73.7 percent (14-of-19).
Presbyterian College made six three-pointers (all by Taylor) on the night, but shot just 29.6 percent (16-of-54) from the field overall. The Blue Hose were able to keep the game close by committing a season-low five turnovers and scoring 13 second-chance points.
Liberty outrebounded its 14th straight opponent, 41-32, and outscored PC inside the paint by 16 tallies (26-10).
Rininger scored 12 of her 18 points after halftime on the way to her 11th double-double of the season. Frazier's 16 points were just one shy of her career high and matched her scoring output from Liberty's 2012-13 matchup with the Blue Hose.
Adams ended up with eight rebounds for the Lady Flames, while Reagan Miller sank two triples during an eight-point, four-assist evening.
Taylor was the lone PC player to score in double figures. Allen tied her for team-high rebounding honors with eight boards and Sherece Smith dished out five assists.
Liberty will take to the road for its next two games, beginning with a Thursday evening tilt at Winthrop (11-4, 5-1 Big South), which sits one-half game behind the Lady Flames in the Big South standings. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Winthrop Coliseum, where the Eagles are 6-0 this season.