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Second Half Run Propels High Point Past Lady Flames
The High Point Lady Panthers used a 15-point run to overcome a four-point deficit and then held on down the stretch to defeat the Liberty Lady Flames, 64-55, in a meeting between the two Big South unbeaten teams, Wednesday night, at the Millis Center.
With the win, High Point remains unbeaten in conference play with a 4-0 mark, while running its overall record to 13-4, while Liberty drops to 3-1 in the Big South and 11-5 overall.
Liberty jumped out quickly on the evening as Courtney Watkins (So., G, Bristol Tenn.) netted a three-pointer from the right side of the arc and Allyson Fasnacht (So., G, Salem, Va.) added two free throws to put the Lady Flames up, 5-0, in the game's opening minutes.
The Panthers would then take the lead with an eight-point run capped off by a Leslie Cook three-pointer for a 8-5 lead at the 15:04 mark, only to see the Lady Flames once again go in front on a jumper by Roli-Ann Nikagbatske (So., F, Berlin, Germany), 11-9 at 12:25 of the first half.
The teams found baskets at a premium the rest of the way in a tightly-played half. The score would be knotted four times in the period before Cook made her second three-pointer of the half to put High Point up at 4:13 of the first half, 21-18. Liberty's Watkins then cut the lead to 27-24 with two free throws right before intermission.
The Lady Flames shot 25 percent from the floor in the first period on 9-36 shooting, while the Panthers had their own difficulties shooting 27.6 percent on 8-29 shooting.
In the second half, Liberty scored the first seven points of the half to regain the lead 31-27 as Moriah Frazee (Fr., F, Xenia, Ohio) capped off the run with a old fashioned three-point play three minutes in.
The teams then traded baskets and leads until the 12:05 mark of the half when the Panthers trailing 42-38 would go on a 15-0 run over the next five minutes to take a 53-42 advantage. Cook capped the run for High Point with her fifth three-pointer of the night with 7:12 left to play and the Panther advantage would hit 13 at 6:12, 56-43, when Katie O'Dell netted her third basket of the half from behind the arc.
The Lady Flames then battled back, cutting the Panthers lead to 60-55 with 1:52 left as Watkins netted a three-pointer and Fasnacht followed with a jumper. However, the Panthers Katie Ralls sank all four of her free throws in the game's last 40 seconds to ice the victory for High Point.
On the night, Liberty was led by Fasnacht who netted 12 points and tied for the game-high in rebounds with seven. Watkins followed with 10 points while also grabbing seven boards. The Panthers O'Dell and Cook tied for game-high honors in points with 17 to lead the Panthers, while O'Dell and Caitlin Thys had six rebounds each for High Point.
Liberty continues on the road as they travel to Birmingham, Ala. to square off with the Birmingham-Southern Panthers on Saturday. Game time is set for 3 p.m.