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Frazee's 31 Points Help LU Edge Gardner-Webb
Liberty improves to 15-7 overall and 9-0 in Big South action, after shooting over 50 percent from the floor (54.3 percent) for the fourth time in its last five games.
Gardner-Webb is now 12-11 overall and 4-6 in conference play. The Bulldogs had won nine straight home contests to start the season, before Monday's contest.
Megan Frazee scored 10 of the Lady Flames' first 11 points of the game, helping Liberty open up an 11-4 lead within the first 4:55 of play.
Gardner-Webb took advantage of numerous Liberty turnovers, recording a 7-0 surge to knot the game at 11-11 on Sherika Montgomery's layup at the 12:09 mark.
Liberty reclaimed the advantage, 15-11, when Kylee Beecher and Rebecca Lightfoot connected from short range on successive possessions.
The Lady Flames did not score another point for nearly 5:30, enabling the homestanding Bulldogs to level the score once again. Courtney Epps sank a pair of charity tosses 5:03 before the intermission, making the score 15-15.
An 8-2 Liberty burst, capped off by two Amber Mays free throws at the 2:21 mark, put the Lady Flames in front by a 23-17 count.
Again, Gardner-Webb responded quickly. Five straight markers, including a three-pointer by Laura Povilonyte, trimmed the Bulldogs' deficit to 23-22.
Liberty took a 25-22 advantage into the locker room, after Megan Frazee's eighth field goal of the opening half.
Frazee carried much of the load for the Lady Flames during the opening 20 minutes, contributing 16 points and seven boards. Liberty owned a 16-10 edge in the "points in the paint" category before the break and outrebounded its host, 17-11, due in large part to Frazee's impact. Mays also contributed a half-high four assists and three rebounds to the Lady Flames' efforts.
Leading the way for Gardner-Webb was Povilonyte, who played at Holy Cross Regional High School in Lynchburg. She posted seven points, four rebounds and the first half's only three-pointer by either side. The two teams combined to sink just one of 16 attempts from beyond the arc during the opening stanza.
Back-to-back hoops by Margaret Roundtree trimmed Gardner-Webb's deficit to a single point, 27-26, at 16:43 of the second half.
Liberty then put together a 13-4 run, including seven Megan Frazee points. Mays' hoop with 12:11 remaining in the contest gave the Lady Flames their first double-digit lead of the evening, 40-30.
Liberty's advantage was still 10 points, before Gardner-Webb halved its deficit with a 7-2 burst. Povilonyte's trifecta from just in front of the Bulldog bench pulled her team within 50-45, with 6:08 showing on the second-half clock.
Gardner-Webb shaved its deficit to five points two more times, including at 56-51, when Dominique Hudson went two-for-two from the foul line with 40 seconds remaining.
Megan Frazee then iced the contest with a pair of free throws on the Lady Flames' ensuing possession.
The Bulldogs made a game effort in the final 20 minutes, led by Roundtree's 14 second-half points. However, the Lady Flames withstood Gardner-Webb's surge by shooting 66.7 percent (14-of-21) from the field after halftime.
Liberty also outrebounded the Bulldogs in the second half, 16-5, as Avery Warley single-handedly matched Gardner-Webb's rebounding total during the stanza. For the contest, the Lady Flames owned a 33-16 advantage on the glass.
Frazee's double-double was her third in a row and seventh of the season. Her 10 caroms boost the senior's career total to 839 boards, making her the eighth-leading rebounder in conference history. Frazee's 31 points represented the second-highest scoring total of her career.
Mays chipped in with eight points, a game-high five assists and four boards. Warley added six points and five rebounds, all of which came after halftime.
Two players reached double figures for the Bulldogs on the evening, as Roundtree posted 16 points and four rebounds, while Povilonyte summed a dozen points and four boards.
Liberty will return to the Vines Center to host Winthrop (10-11, 5-4 Big South), Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. The Lady Flames will aim to complete a season sweep of the Eagles, after coming from behind to post a 55-51 win at Winthrop on Jan. 10. The game will also be Liberty's WBCA Pink Zone contest, part of a national initiative to promote breast cancer awareness. Liberty will also seek win No. 500 in program history.
Meanwhile, Gardner-Webb will continue its four-game homestand Saturday at 4:30 p.m., when Big South second-place squad High Point visits Paul Porter Arena.