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Lady Flames Drop 77-64 Decision at JMU
Liberty is now 1-5 to start the season, after enduring its fourth consecutive setback away from the Vines Center. Meanwhile, James Madison boosts its record to 3-2 after recording its 48th victory in the last 51 home games.
An early 5-0 spurt, highlighted by Kisha Stokes' three-point play at 16:35 of the opening half, put James Madison in front, 7-4.
Back-to-back baskets by JMU's Dawn Evans, the nation's leading scorer entering the contest, finished an 8-0 Dukes run. The surge built the home team's lead to nine points, 17-8, 11:51 before the half.
The Lady Flames clawed back to within three points, 21-18, after Moriah Frazee's three-pointer from the top of the key at the 9:43 mark punctuated Liberty's 5-0 run.
Evans nailed a triple on the Dukes' ensuing possession, beginning a 9-3 surge by the white-clad home squad. Sarah Williams' fast break layup closed the run, boosting her team's advantage back up to 30-21, with 6:39 on the clock.
Liberty took its first lead since 4-2, when Moriah Frazee's hoop at 1:29 capped an 11-0 Lady Flames run. Her connection made the score 38-36, Liberty.
JMU then tallied the stanza's final three points, taking a slim, 39-38 advantage into the locker room after a well-played opening 20 minutes.
Liberty shot 43.3 percent (13-of-30) from the field during the first half, while James Madison checked in at 44.1 percent (15-of-34). Both teams also had more assists than turnovers.
Moriah Frazee and freshman Brittany Campbell, making her first career start, paced the Lady Flames with nine points each in the first half. Campbell's points came on a trio of three-pointers, as she helped Liberty hit 50 percent (5-of-10) from long range and enjoy its highest-scoring half of the young season.
Rachel Hammond also had a strong all-around half for the Lady Flames, contributing seven points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals.
James Madison also featured two nine-point scorers in the first 20 minutes—Evans and Stokes. Stokes added six rebounds, helping her squad claim a 24-15 edge on the glass.
Liberty opened the second half by scoring four points in the first 47 seconds. The Lady Flames reclaimed the edge, 42-39, after Moriah Frazee's pair of made charity tosses.
James Madison quickly bounced back with six consecutive markers of its own. The Dukes went ahead once again, 47-44, on Evans' three-pointer with 15:13 showing on the second-half clock.
The Dukes' edge ballooned to nine, 56-47, after a run of seven consecutive points. Williams' three-pointer from the corner with 9:34 to play capped the surge.
Moriah Frazee's second three-pointer of the game, at 6:43, trimmed JMU's lead to six, 60-54. However, that was Liberty's last made field goal for the next five minutes. During the Lady Flames' drought, the Dukes put together a 10-2 surge. Another Evans triple, with just 2:28 remaining, gave JMU its largest lead of the evening, 70-56.
Evans scored the Dukes' final 14 points, nine of which came from the free throw line, enabling her team to finish off a 13-point victory.
Hammond's 17 points established a new career high, and the Florida native also matched her career best with six assists to go along with six caroms. Classmate Frazee finished with her second consecutive 17-point outing and nearly recorded a double-double in the process. She led the Lady Flames with nine rebounds.
Amber Mays joined the senior duo in double digits, contributing 11 points and four assists. Campbell almost reached double figures for the third straight game, posting nine points on the evening.
Evans ended up with a game-high 27 markers for the Dukes, going 10-of-12 from the foul line. JMU owned a significant advantage from the charity stripe, hitting 25-of-34 attempts, while the Lady Flames got to the line only 14 times, sinking 12 of their tries.
Nina Uqdah was the only player to nab 10 or more rebounds. Her 12 boards helped James Madison end up with a 43-33 rebounding edge. She finished off a double-double with 10 markers.
Stokes and Williams also hit double digits in the scoring column for coach Kenny Brooks' squad, totaling 11 points each.
Liberty will return home Sunday afternoon for only its second home game of the 2008-09 season. The Lady Flames will welcome undefeated Auburn to the Vines Center for a 3 p.m. tip-off. The Tigers, ranked No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll and No. 14 in the AP Top 25 Poll, will be only the second SEC women's basketball team ever to play at the Vines Center.