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Lady Flames Survive Hot-Shooting Athletes in Action for 80-74 Exhibition Triumph
Athletes in Action finished its 10-game tour at 4-6, after the collection of former collegiate athletes played its fourth game in four nights. AIA made 42 percent of its three-point tries, but Liberty pulled out the win on the strength of 52.8 percent shooting and a 43-32 rebounding edge.
The Lady Flames jumped out to an 8-0 lead out of the gate, as their half-court trap forced several AIA turnovers. Megan Frazee (G/F, Xenia, Ohio) and Moriah Frazee (Jr., F, Xenia, Ohio) combined for eight of Liberty's first 10 markers.
Moriah Frazee posted a layup and an old-fashioned three-point play to kick start a 10-0 Liberty run, midway through the opening half. A three-pointer by Rebecca Lightfoot (Jr., G/F, Duluth, Ga.) capped the surge and lifted the Lady Flames to their largest advantage of the game, 34-21, 6:32 before halftime.
Athletes in Action then caught fire from beyond the three-point arc, sinking six-of-nine triples during the remainder of the half. Kari Flunker hit a trio of three-pointers during the half-closing 20-6 run. Shauna Snyder's two charity tosses, two seconds before the intermission, gave AIA its first lead of the evening, 41-40, as the teams headed to the locker room.
Liberty trailed by a single point at the half, despite shooting 59.3 percent from the field during the opening 20 minutes of action. Megan Frazee totaled 14 points and seven rebounds, to lead the Lady Flames' first-half effort.
Athletes in Action countered with nine three-pointers in the opening stanza, including three apiece by Flunker and Krista Rappahahn. Rappahahn paced all scorers with 17 points in the first half. AIA also pulled down 11 first-half offensive boards, leading to 16 second-chance points.
Three more quick three-pointers early in the second half pushed the Athletes in Action cushion to six points, 50-44. Shauna Snyder's triple, 1:45 into the half, gave AIA its largest advantage of the evening. However, her squad hit only one more three-pointer over the final 18:15.
Liberty turned up the pressure on defense, leading to four steals in the next five minutes. The Lady Flames converted all four thefts into points during an 11-3 surge, and reclaimed the lead, 55-53, on Megan Frazee's lay-up at 13:19.
AIA answered with eight of the next 10 tallies, with all of the points coming courtesy of guards Jade Leitao and Shauna Snyder. Snyder's jumper with 9:32 on the second-half clock put her team in front by a 61-57 count.
The stage was then set for Liberty's aforementioned 12-0 spurt. The Lady Flames kept the visitors off the scoreboard for 4:26. In the meantime, Rachel Hammond (Jr., G, Clearwater, Fla.), Lightfoot and Courtney Watkins (Sr., G, Bristol, Tenn.) scored four points apiece.
Lightfoot's jumper at the 7:17 mark put Liberty on top for good, 63-61, and Watkins' coast-to-coast lay-up at 5:28 capped the run with the Lady Flames holding a 69-61 lead.
Athletes in Action got no closer than five points down the rest of the way, and Liberty's edge reached 12 points with just over one minute to play. The Lady Flames then closed out an 80-74 triumph.
Four Lady Flame juniors reached double figures in the scoring column. Megan Frazee had an efficient evening, sinking 11-of-14 field goals and all seven of her free throws. She also contributed three assists and two steals, to complement her game-leading point and rebound totals.
Moriah Frazee joined her sister by tallying 13 points. Lightfoot added a dozen markers, while Hammond finished with 10. The junior quartet helped Liberty finish the game at 52.8 percent from the field.
Senior Watkins sparked Liberty's improved defensive effort in the second half and hauled in eight of her nine rebounds after the intermission.
Rappahahn was limited to four points in the second half, but finished with a team-best 21 tallies for Athletes in Action. Flunker (16 points), Leitao (15 points) and Snyder (14 points) also scored in double digits for AIA.
Liberty will open its 2007-08 regular-season schedule Tuesday evening, when the Lady Flames travel to Greensboro, N.C. to battle UNC Greensboro. Tip-off at Fleming Gym is slated for 7 p.m.