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Liberty Gets Back on Track with Win Over Coastal
On the heels of a two-game losing streak, Liberty got back on track Thursday evening, thanks to defense and rebounding. The Lady Flames enjoyed a +14 rebound margin and held visiting Coastal Carolina to a season-low scoring output in a workmanlike 64-46 victory at the Vines Center.
Liberty improves to 13-9 overall and 9-4 in the Big South with its 42nd straight head-to-head victory over the Chanticleers. The Lady Flames were led by Ashley Rininger (13 points, 10 rebounds), who tied Megan Frazee's program sophomore-class record from the 2006-07 campaign with her 13th double-double of the season.
Coastal Carolina shot just 34 percent (18-of-53) from the field and 20 percent (4-of-20) from behind the three-point line while falling to 11-12 on the season and 7-7 in conference play. The Chanticleers have lost seven of their last 10 contests after starting 4-0 in Big South action.
In contrast to its last two games, Liberty got off to a fast start on Thursday. Four early points by Emily Frazier helped the Lady Flames jump out to a 9-3 lead within the first 3:29 of play.
Coastal Carolina battled back and got to within 15-12 on two Megan Pittman free throws at the 9:52 mark.
Liberty then outscored the Chanticleers by a 14-4 count over the next 7:33, sparked by four Mickayla Sanders points. A Rininger free throw at 2:19 gave the Lady Flames their largest lead of the opening half, 29-16.
The Lady Flames took a 12-point cushion (31-19) into halftime after scoring more than half of their points (16) inside the paint during the first 20 minutes of play.
Liberty shot 41.9 percent (13-of-31) from the field in the opening half while limiting Coastal Carolina to 25.9 percent (7-of-27). The Chanticleers connected on just one of their 12 first-half three-point tries for 8.3 percent.
Paced by Rininger's nine boards, Liberty posted a 21-19 rebounding edge before the break.
Frazier led all players with eight points in the first half, with backcourt mate Sadalia Ellis dishing out six assists.
Pittman and Savanah Pippin tallied five points each for the Chanticleers prior to halftime.
Liberty scored the first seven points of the second half, pushing out to a 38-19 edge on Reagan Miller's three-pointer from the right wing with 18:00 remaining.
Shortly thereafter, Coastal Carolina fashioned a 9-2 run, trimming its deficit to 42-30 when Alexx Puckett canned a layup at the 13:49 mark.
But Adams halted the Chanticleers' momentum with an old-fashioned three-point play on Liberty's next trip to the offensive end. That kick-started another 7-0 surge by the Lady Flames, and Coastal Carolina got no closer than 13 points down the rest of the way as Liberty head coach Carey Green improved to 34-0 all-time against his alma mater.
Liberty made 52.4 percent (11-of-21) of its field goals after halftime, finishing the contest at 46.2 percent (24-of-52). The Lady Flames moved the ball well on the night, as evidenced by their 17 assists on 24 made baskets.
Liberty won the second-half rebounding battle by a 21-9 count, enabling the Lady Flames to outrebound their 20th consecutive opponent, 42-28.
The homestanding Lady Flames committed a season-low nine fouls, sending Coastal Carolina to the charity stripe just 10 times.
Thirteen Lady Flames saw action, including freshman Audrey Rettstatt, who grabbed two rebounds in her collegiate debut. That depth helped Liberty post a 17-13 advantage in bench points.
Liberty held its fourth opponent below the 50-point mark this season, all of which have been Big South foes playing at the Vines Center.
Adams (12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocked shots) and Frazier (10 points, 4 assists) joined Rininger in double digits for the victors. Ellis finished with a game-high seven assists, falling just one shy of her career high.
Angelica Henry scored 11 of her 13 points after halftime to pace Coastal Carolina, while Pittman chipped in 10 points off of the bench. Pippin collected a team-high eight rebounds in her first start of the season.
Liberty limited Chanticleer guard AJ Jordan to a season-low four points, a dozen below her season scoring average.
Liberty will remain at home on Saturday for a 2 p.m. contest against Charleston Southern (8-15, 4-10 Big South). The Lady Flames will aim for their 20th straight home win in the head-to-head series with the Buccaneers during Liberty's annual "Play 4Kay" contest. Named for former N.C. State head coach Kay Yow, the game will promote breast cancer awareness.