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Liberty Downs Southern Miss, Advances to Championship Game
The Lady Flames downed Southern Miss 71-60 this afternoon at Reynolds Coliseum to advance to the championships game against host N.C. State.
After exchanging leads for most of the first half, Liberty finally stepped out of reach at the 7:49 mark of the first half. Several three-pointers, including two from Moriah Frazee pushed the Flames ahead and gave the lead for the rest of the game.
The game between Liberty and Southern Miss started out a close one with both teams jockeying for the lead. There were 12 lead changes, with nearly all of them taking place in the first 10 minutes. But it was Liberty that made the final call. The Flames took over for good at 7:49 with a three-pointer from Courtney Watkins, which also led to an 11-2 run.
Liberty took its biggest lead of 13 after hitting three-straight three-pointers, including two from Moriah Frazee. Southern Miss did get some momentum on its side heading into the break. USM held Liberty scoreless for the final three minutes and posted six points of its own, two from a pair of Ashley Harrell free throws to cut its deficit to seven at the half, 36-29.
The Southern Miss battle continued early into the second half as it continued to hold Liberty without a point for five and half minutes and was within four at 38-34.
Liberty's Megan Frazee hit a jumper and a free throw to end the Flames' scoreless streak that was up to eight minutes after finishing the first half without a score in the last three minutes.
The offensive struggle didn't last long for Liberty as it regained its 13-point lead and extended it to 15 after a fast break lay-up from Roli Ann-Nikagbatse with 5:40 remaining in the game. The bucket put Liberty up 64-52. Southern Miss's Ashley Harrell had eight of her 15 total points in the second half to lead the way for USM.
Liberty's Megan Frazee scored a game-high 24 points and eight rebounds, ending her streak of double-doubles at three. For the second-consecutive game Moriah Frazee was the second leading scorer as she collected nine points – going 7-of-8 from the line – and eight rebounds.
With the 71-60 win, Liberty improves to 3-1 and will face NC State, 4-2, at 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4 in the championship game of NC State's tournament.