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Liberty Rebounds Way Past High Point
Liberty is now 8-0 at home this season after picking up its seventh-consecutive victory during the month of January. The Lady Flames closed out their first unbeaten month since February 2006. Megan Frazee (22 points) and Moriah Frazee (20 points) led the way offensively, as the Lady Flames improved to 18-2 overall and 3-0 in the Big South Conference.
High Point has dropped three-straight decisions, all to conference foes, and is now 9-10 overall and 1-3 in the Big South. The Panthers were plagued by 20 turnovers, which Liberty converted into 21 points.
Both squads sputtered at the offensive end to start the game. Liberty, ranked ninth nationally in field goal percentage entering the contest, made only two of its first 11 field goals. Meanwhile, High Point committed six turnovers in the first five-and-a-half minutes. The Flames emerged with a 10-6 advantage at the first media timeout, at the 14:33 mark, on the strength of six Moriah Frazee points.
Liberty gained a little breathing room when three-consecutive markers by Courtney Watkins after the stoppage highlighted an 8-2 spurt by the Lady Flames. Rebecca Lightfoot's free throw at 11:17 boosted her team's edge to 16-8.
Four-consecutive points by freshman LaTeisha Dean halved the visitors' deficit. Her two free throws with 10:48 showing on the first-half clock cut the gap to 16-12.
Head coach Carey Green's Lady Flames countered with a 13-4 surge, taking their first double-digit lead of the night. Molly Frazee went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe during the run, including a pair at 5:16 which increased the lead to 29-16.
Liberty's lead reached 16 points before the Panthers tallied the stanza's final three markers, bringing the halftime score to 35-22 in favor of the Lady Flames.
The Lady Flames entered the contest shooting 52.4 percent from the field in home games this season. However, they struggled to an 11-of-36 (30.6 percent) effort during the first 20 minutes. Liberty was able to build a lead because High Point shot just 8-of-27 (29.6 percent) itself and committed 15 turnovers, leading to 14 Lady Flame points.
Liberty also won the battle of the boards, 26-23, as Molly Frazee, Moriah Frazee and Watkins collected six caroms apiece.
Molly Frazee and sister Megan Frazee evenly divided 16 points during the opening half to pace Liberty. Dean came off the bench for the first time in her career and relished the role, leading all players with 10 first-half markers.
Consecutive Jurica Hargraves hoops, the second of which came at the 18:23 mark and closed out a 10-1 Panther run to start the second half, shaved High Point's deficit to 36-29.
Megan Frazee's old-fashioned three-point play on Liberty's ensuing possession halted the Panthers' momentum. It also instigated her team's 8-2 surge. Frazee's tip-in rebuilt Liberty's advantage to 46-31 with 11:56 remaining in the half.
High Point chipped away at the lead once again. Back-to-back three-pointers by Dean and Ayonna Thompson pulled their team to within single digits at 52-43 at 9:29.
And again Frazee answered immediately with three points, a triple which pushed Liberty's advantage back to double figures for good. Another Frazee three-pointer, coming with 6:53 to play, wrapped up the Lady Flames' 9-1 burst and lifting their edge to 61-44. Her long-distance connections were also part of a string of 23-straight Liberty points scored by the Frazee triplets during the second half.
High Point shaved its disadvantage to 14 twice before Liberty put the game away with a 10-1 burst, featuring a quartet of Moriah Frazee markers. A Lightfoot layup with 3:17 left increased the Lady Flames to their largest lead of the contest, 73-50.
Liberty went on to win by a 76-57 count over a High Point team which had won four of its last six matchups against the Lady Flames. Liberty athletic teams, including the volleyball, wrestling, men's basketball and women's basketball squads, are now unbeaten in the last 30 contests played at the Vines Center.
Liberty pulled down 50 rebounds, including a season-high 27 at the offensive end. The Lady Flames also came up with 12 steals, the third-consecutive game which they have come up with at least a dozen pilfers.
For the second-straight contest, all three Frazee sisters scored in double figures. Megan, Molly and Moriah combined for 53 points and 25 rebounds. Moriah's 20 points were a career high and marked the first time since March 22, 2005 (Katie Feenstra - 29 points vs. DePaul) a Liberty player other than Megan Frazee has reached the 20-point plateau. She complemented her offensive output with nine boards and three blocks, while Molly Frazee finished with 11 points and equaled a career-high with nine boards.
Also setting career standards on the glass were Lightfoot and Watkins, who corralled 10 boards apiece. Lightfoot added 10 points for her first career double-double. Rachel Hammond was efficient in her 16 minutes off the Liberty bench, totaling eight points, five assists and a career-superlative four steals.
Three High Point players, all of whom are freshmen, scored in double figures, headed by Dean's 17 markers. Hargraves scored all 12 of her points after halftime, and Maier totaled 11 points. Amber Manuel, the lone Panther senior, hauled in a team-high nine rebounds, and Thompson distributed a game-high six assists.
Liberty will conclude its three-game homestand Saturday at 7 p.m., when Winthrop visits the Vines Center. The Eagles and Lady Flames are the only two remaining unbeaten teams in Big South play.