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Campbell Deals Liberty 2nd Straight OT Setback
Liberty's women's basketball game at Campbell Saturday afternoon followed a similar script to Thursday's contest with High Point. The Lady Flames again came back from a double-digit second-half deficit to force overtime, only to lose in the extra session. The Lady Camels pulled out a 61-55 victory inside Gore Arena.
Lady Flames freshman Mickayla Sanders nearly hit a clutch shot at the end of regulation for the second straight game. After making a game-tying triple during the final second on Thursday, her potential game-winning shot from close range slid off the rim as the regulation buzzer sounded on Saturday. As a result, Liberty headed to extra time for the fourth game in the last five outings.
Campbell only made one field goal during overtime, but it was a big one. D Janelle Brown swished a triple from the right corner with 34.2 seconds remaining, giving the Lady Camels a lead they would never relinquish.
Campbell improves to 14-8 overall and 9-4 in the Big South with its fifth consecutive victory. It was the Lady Camels' first win over Liberty since Nov. 29, 1999, snapping the Lady Flames' string of six straight wins in the head-to-head series.
Liberty slips to 12-9 overall and 8-4 in Big South play after losing back-to-back conference games for the first time since Feb. 20 and 22, 1997. Despite Sanders' career-high 19 points, the Lady Flames managed a season-low 55 points for the game.
Sanders nailed a pair of three-pointers during the first 3:11 of the matinee, before the Lady Flames only made one field goal over the next 9:15. Campbell went on an 11-2 run during that stretch, taking a 16-10 lead on RaeChaun Edwards' layup at the 8:52 mark.
Liberty then went the final 4:14 of the half without a made field goal, enabling the Lady Camels to close the stanza with a 9-1 surge and take a 29-18 advantage into the locker room. It was Liberty's lowest-scoring half since the Lady Flames managed only 17 points during the first half of the season opener at Charlotte on Nov. 8.
The Lady Flames made just 33.3 percent (7-of-21) of their first-half field goal attempts and committed 12 turnovers, which Campbell converted into 12 points.
Campbell shot 37.5 percent (12-of-32) from the field during the first 20 minutes of play, while owning advantages in rebounds (19-16), points in the paint (12-8) and second-chance points (9-4).
Sanders led the Lady Flames with six first-half points, while Catherine Kearney pulled down four rebounds.
The Lady Camels' starting five scored all of the home team's points during the opening half, led by Edwards' seven markers. Ashley James collected a half-best five rebounds.
Roslyn Presley's layup at 17:47 of the second half put the Lady Camels in front by 13 points, at 33-20.
Liberty still trailed by a 40-29 count with 12:42 left before the Lady Flames tied the score with an 11-0 run. Sanders scored the last nine points of the surge, including a baseline jumper with 9:12 to play which made it 40-40.
However, Presley put the Lady Camels back on top by making a pair of free throws 45 seconds later, halting Liberty's momentum.
Liberty held Campbell to just one made field goal during the final 7:08 of play, but points came at a premium at the Lady Flames' offensive end late in the game as well.
Ashley Rininger split a pair of free throws at 2:18 and Sadalia Ellis did the same at the 1:34 mark, tying things up at 49 apiece.
Liberty shot the ball four times during the final 31 seconds, including Sanders' last-second effort off an inbounds play during but could not connect. Thus, the Lady Flames set a program record with their fourth overtime game of the season.
Hoops by Ellis and Sanders helped blue-clad Liberty take a 53-51 edge with 1:47 left in overtime.
The Lady Camels then closed the game on a 10-2 run, featuring Brown's key triple and a 7-of-8 showing from the free throw line. Kiera Gaines hit five foul shots during the final 19.5 seconds to seal Campbell's 10th home win of the year.
For the game, Liberty struggled shooting the ball from the field (20-of-57 for 35.1 percent), three-point range (5-of-19 for 26.3 percent) and the foul line (10-of-18 for 55.6 percent).
Campbell did not shoot well either, making 33.9 percent (20-of-59) of its field goals and 25 percent (4-of-16) of its three-point tries. However, the Lady Camels excelled at the charity stripe, connecting on 17 of 19 attempts for 89.5 percent.
Liberty finished with slight advantages in rebounding (43-40) and points in the paint (24-22), while scoring 19 bench points to the Lady Camels' five.
Sanders scored 13 of her career-high 19 points after halftime, finishing with four made triples. Ellis reached double digits for the second straight game, tallying 11 points to go along with a team-high four assists.
Katelyn Adams collected a team-best nine rebounds for the Lady Flames, becoming one of the top 50 rebounders in program history in the process.
Presley (18 points), Gaines (13 points) and Brown (12 points) all scored in double digits for Campbell, with Presley and Gaines nabbing eight rebounds apiece. James led all players with 11 boards before fouling out.
Liberty will return home for its next two games, beginning with a Thursday evening tilt against Coastal Carolina. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Vines Center, as the Lady Flames will shoot for their 42nd straight win in the head-to-head series against the Chanticleers.