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Lady Flames Hold Off North Carolina A&T, Improve to 2-0
With the win, Liberty ups its mark to 2-0 on the year, while North Carolina A&T drops to 1-1.
The contest started out at a fast pace, with the Aggies taking a 10-8 advantage into the first media timeout. Megan Frazee opened the scoring with a jumper to give the Lady Flames a 2-0 edge, but the Aggies responded with a lay-up by Jalessa Sams, followed by an old fashioned three-point play by Amber Bland for an early 5-2 advantage at 18:50. The teams then exchanged baskets until a three-pointer by Ta' Wuana Cook, right before the timeout, gave Aggies a two-point lead at the 16:01 mark.
A jumper by Megan Frazee at 12:47 tied the contest at 17-17 and started a run of 11 unanswered points for the Lady Flames. A three-pointer by freshman point guard Rachel McLeod capped the run of approximately five minutes and put Liberty up, 26-17.
With 3:52 remaining the opening period, the Lady Flames stretched their advantage to 38-28 with their third three-pointer of the first half, courtesy of Watkins.
A lay-up by North Carolina A&T's Nancy Rembert cut the Liberty to edge to eight at 38-30 with 2:26 left, but two free throws by Molly Frazee at 1:10 gave head coach Carey Green's team its biggest lead of the night, 41-30.
The Aggies sliced the Lady Flames' advantage to 41-34 at intermission with four-straight tallies, on a lay-up by Lonise Coulter and two free throws by Tyronnica Alford.
For the half, Liberty shot 51.9 percent from the field on 14-of-27 shooting, while North Carolina A&T was 12-for-30 for 40 percent.
Watkins led the Lady Flames with 10 first-half points, while McLeod and Megan Frazee chipped in seven apiece.
After Watkins opened the second half with a lay-up, the teams exchanged baskets over the next several minutes. Megan Frazee's lay-up at 17:16 ended the exchange with Liberty up, 47-39.
North Carolina A&T then began to whittle away at the Lady Flames' edge, outscoring the visitors, 13-5, over the next five minutes. The Aggies cut the Liberty advantage to one, 53-52, on a lay-up by Lamona Smalley at 13:10.
Two free throws by Liberty's McLeod moments later gave the Lady Flames a 55-52 lead with 9:05 left, but a three-pointer by North Carolina A&T guard Cook knotted the game at 57 apiece with 5:35 remaining.
After two free throws gave the Aggies a 59-57 lead, Liberty responded with a 10-0 surge over the next 3:03, to put the contest out of reach. A three-pointer by Watkins, her third of the night, gave the Lady
Flames a lead they would never relinquish at 3:36. A lay-up and ensuing free throw by Fasnacht and a lay-up by Megan Frazee in the game's final two minutes helped Liberty grab a 67-59 lead.
North Carolina A&T converted a three pointer and a lay-up to cut the lead to three at 67-64 with 10 seconds left, but Fasnacht knocked down the front end of a one-and-one to seal a 68-64 win.
Watkins complemented her career-best point total with five boards and a game-high five assists. Moriah Frazee also scored in double figures with 12 points, while McLeod added nine points, three assists and a quartet of steals in extended minutes at the point guard slot.
Cook led the Aggies with 15 points, while Sams added 10.
Liberty travels to Blacksburg, Va., on Monday to square off with 2-0 Virginia Tech. Game time at Cassell Coliseum is scheduled for 7 p.m.