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Second Half Defense Keys Lady Flames' Victory Over Lady Eagles
The Liberty Lady Flames held the Winthrop Lady Eagles to one basket over a span of 14 minutes in the second half as the Lady Flames downed the Lady Eagles, 61-51, Wednesday evening at the Winthrop Coliseum in Big South Conference action.
With the win, Liberty continues to lead the Big South Conference with a 10-1 record and is 19-5 overall, while Winthrop drops to 4-7 in conference and 10-14 overall.
With the game tied at 6-6 after the first four minutes of play, Winthrop would go on a 7-0 run over the next 2:20 to take a 13-6 advantage. An old fashioned three-point play by Roneisha Kinney capped the run at 13:54.
However, the seven-point lead would be the Lady Eagles' biggest of the evening as the Lady Flames would score nine of the next 12 points as a Michelle Parker (Jr., G, Miami, Fla.) jumper knotted the score at 16-16 at the 11:11 mark.
Winthrop once again extended its lead to 26-21 with 3:36 left in the opening period, only to see the Lady Flames' score the final six points of the half and go to intermission up, 27-26, on a Rachel Hammond (Fr., G, Clearwater, Fla.) three-pointer with 21 seconds left. It would be the first of a career-high four three-pointers for Hammond, who also led Liberty in scoring with 12 points.
In the second half and in the lead 32-30, the Lady Flames allowed the Lady Eagles only one field goal over the next 14 minutes, outscoring Winthrop 18-11 over the span.
Liberty would extend its advantage to 37-30 at the 16:29 mark of the second period as Moriah Frazee (Fr., F, Xenia, OH) scored five consecutive points for Liberty on two lay-ups and a free throw.
The Lady Flames took their biggest lead of 13 on the evening as Hammond connected again from behind the arc at 7:29 for a 50-37 advantage.
Winthrop cut the Liberty lead to 52-49 with 2:12 left, but a lay-up by Courtney Watkins (So., G, Bristol, Tenn.) and a jumper by Roli-Ann Nikagbatse (So., F, Berlin, Germany) would put the Lady Flames up 56-49 with 59 seconds.
Liberty then iced the game with 6-of-6 foul shooting by Watkins, Rebecca Lightfoot (Fr., F, Duluth, Ga.) and Allyson Fasnacht (So., G, Salem, Va.).
Hammond led the way for Liberty with 12 points off the Lady Flames' bench which accounted for 50 percent of the team's scoring on the evening. Leslie Jones (Jr., F, Raleigh, N.C.) finished with eight points in eight minutes and Molly Frazee had six points off the bench. Nikagbatse scored eight points and led Liberty with seven rebounds.
Ashley Fann led Winthrop with 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Tiffany Rodd added 10 points and Ashley Carey had nine points.
The Lady Flames shot 83.3 percent from the free throw line on the night. It was Liberty's third best game percentage this season, while committing just 14 turnovers, the fourth fewest turnovers by the Lady Flames since starting Big South play.
Liberty next continues Big South Conference play with a visit to UNC Asheville on Saturday. Game time is set for 2 p.m.