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Liberty Wins Regular-Season Finale at Longwood
Liberty closed out the 2013-14 regular season with a 69-47 victory at Longwood Saturday afternoon, thanks to impressive defense and rebounding. The Lady Flames posted a +24 (51-27) rebound margin and held the Lancers to 28.3 percent field goal shooting for the contest.
The Lady Flames' fifth straight victory pushes their record to 19-10 overall and 15-5 in Big South play. Liberty finishes in a tie with Winthrop for second place in the conference standings, one game behind Big South regular-season champion High Point (16-4).
Longwood drops to 8-21 overall and 5-15 in conference action after its fifth loss in its last six outings.
All five of Liberty's starters scored points during the Lady Flames' game-opening 13-2 surge during the first 6:05 of the contest.
The Lancers battled back to within 15-7 on Daeisha Brown's hoop at the 11:59 mark.
However, Longwood managed only four points during the next 10 minutes, during which time Liberty went on a prolonged 16-4 run. Ashley Rininger's old-fashioned three-point play gave the blue-clad Lady Flames a 31-11 advantage, 2:07 before halftime.
Longwood trimmed its deficit to 14 before Sadalia Ellis beat the halftime buzzer with a layup, making the score 35-19 in favor of Liberty.
The Lady Flames shot 50 percent (14-of-28) from the field before the break, aided by 20 points in the paint and 18 points off of Longwood's 10 turnovers.
Liberty also enjoyed a 22-14 first-half rebounding edge and held Longwood to 28.6 percent (8-of-28) from the floor.
Eight different Lady Flames scored points in the first half, topped by Rininger's nine markers.
Heather Tobeck, Longwood's lone senior honored prior to tipoff, scored five first-half points for the Lancers.
Daeisha Brown scored six points during the first 3:05 of the second half, helping the Lancers open the period with a 10-3 surge. The diminutive sophomore's three-point play pulled her team to within 38-29 at 16:55.
Reagan Miller then drained a three-pointer from the right corner on Liberty's next trip to the offensive end, sparking a 17-0 run by the Lady Flames. Rininger tallied seven points during the surge, which ended with an Ellis steal and layup with 11:26 on the clock. Her hoop bolstered the visitors' advantage to 55-29.
Liberty's lead reached 29 points twice on the way to a 22-point triumph. The Lady Flames have now posted 11 consecutive wins over the Lancers after holding their opponent below the 50-point mark for the sixth time in the last eight outings.
The Lady Flames finished at 41.7 percent (25-of-60) from the field, including six made triples. However, Liberty shot just 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the foul line.
In addition to its sizeable rebound margin, Liberty had the upper hand in points in the paint (34-14) and second-chance points (17-6).
The Lady Flames turned Longwood's 18 miscues into a season-high 29 points off of turnovers.
Rininger was the lone Lady Flame to score in double figures, totaling 17 points and seven boards. Fellow starting post player Katelyn Adams added nine points and eight caroms.
Simone Brown led Liberty with a career-best 10 rebounds, while Mickayla Sanders tied her career high with seven caroms.
Miller and Jaymee Fisher-Davis each nailed a trio of three-pointers and scored nine points.
Ellis matched her career high with four of the Lady Flames' season-best 12 steals. Emily Frazier's six points put the redshirt junior guard over 500 for her career.
Daeisha Brown's 10 points topped Longwood's scoring chart, while Treasure Avery pulled down a team-leading six rebounds.
Liberty will now travel to Conway, S.C., for the 2014 Big South Women's Basketball Championship. The Lady Flames will begin defense of their back-to-back tournament titles with a quarterfinal contest on Thursday at The HTC Center. The bracket will be announced later today.