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Williams Helps N.C. Central Edge Liberty
North Carolina Central's Chasidy Williams scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the second half, helping the homestanding Lady Eagles come from behind to defeat Liberty, 50-48, Saturday afternoon at McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium.
Despite Avery Warley's third double-double of the season (14 points, 10 rebounds), Liberty drops its second straight contest, falling to 3-6 on the year. The Lady Flames are 0-4 in road matchups this season.
North Carolina Central improves to 2-8, while snapping a seven-game losing streak. The Lady Eagles improve to 19-8 at home since beginning their transition to the NCAA Division I level in 2007-08.
Warley scored five early points, including an old-fashioned three-point play at 18:10 which gave Liberty a 7-1 advantage.
Back-to-back hoops by the Lady Eagles' J'Mia Pollock trimmed the home team's deficit to 7-5 at the 16:09 mark.
Liberty held North Carolina Central to one field goal in the next 8:27, reeling off an 8-2 surge in the meantime. Devon Brown's layup off a nice feed from Brittany Campbell put the Lady Flames up, 15-7, at the 8:39 mark.
The Lady Eagles came back with five straight points, pulling to within three, 15-12, on Williams' first hoop of the game, 6:36 before halftime.
Liberty rebuilt a seven-point advantage, at 19-12, when Jelena Antic scored on an alley-oop-like play at the 2:25 mark.
Another 5-0 North Carolina Central burst brought it back to a one-possession game. Williams made both ends of a one-and-one at the 1:22 mark to make it 19-17, Lady Flames.
Liberty took that same two-point edge, 23-21, into halftime.
North Carolina Central shot the ball better than Liberty from all three distances in the first half. The Lady Eagles hit 38.9 percent (7-of-18) of their field goals, 33.3 percent (1-of-3) of their three-pointers and 75 percent (6-of-8) of their free throws.
Meanwhile, the Lady Flames hit 36.7 percent (11-of-30) of their field goals, misfired on all eight of their three-point tries and made just 20 percent (1-of-5) of their foul shots.
Liberty scored 20 points in the paint before the break, but was tied in the rebound column, 17-17. The Lady Flames also scored 10 points off of North Carolina Central's 13 first-half turnovers.
Individually, Warley led Liberty in both points (7) and rebounds (5) in the first half, while Tolu Omotola chipped in six points. Pollock, Williams and Blaire Houston had four points apiece for North Carolina Central during the first 20 minutes.
The Lady Eagles used a 7-2 surge early in the second half to claim a 28-27 lead on Williams' hoop from five feet away, 2:52 into the stanza. It was the home team's first lead since 1-0.
The next eight minutes featured four ties and two lead changes, as neither team led by more than three points.
Williams tallied four points during a 7-0 North Carolina Central run, putting the Lady Eagles on top, 42-37, with 7:10 remaining on the second-half clock.
Dymond Morgan's putback hoop and LaKendra Washington's three-pointer from the right wing in transition enabled Liberty to level the score at 42-42 at the 5:11 mark.
At 3:25, Jori Nwachukwu broke the deadlock with a mid-range jumper, and the homestanding Lady Eagles never trailed again.
Emily Frazier, Brown and Morgan all attempted three-pointers within the final 15 seconds, but none could find the mark and North Carolina Central snapped Liberty's 29-game winning streak against MEAC foes.
Morgan's triple try came after Alesha Jenkins missed the front end of a one-and-one with 5.5 seconds left for North Carolina Central. Trailing by two, Liberty rushed the ball upcourt and got it to Morgan, whose three-pointer from the deep right wing caromed off the front of the rim as the final buzzer sounded.
Liberty's cold shooting continued in the second half. For the game, the Lady Flames ended up at 32.3 percent (20-of-62) from the field, 13.3 percent (2-of-15) from three-point range and a season-low 40 percent (6-of-15) from the foul line.
North Carolina Central maintained its advantage in all three areas of shooting statistics. The home team finished at 40 percent (18-of-45) from the floor, 20 percent (2-of-10) on three-pointers and 75 percent (12-of-16) on free throws.
Liberty outrebounded its host, 45-35, including 21 offensive caroms. The Lady Flames had 34 points in the paint and 16 second-chance points, despite missing two key post players. Jasmine Gardner made her first career start, but played only five seconds before a hard collision under the basket ended her day prematurely. Meanwhile, Kylee Beecher sat out the contest with an injury of her own.
Warley led the Lady Flames in both points (14) and rebounds (10), while reaching a career milestone. The redshirt junior became the eighth player in program history to reach the 600-rebound mark. Warley now ranks No. 7 in program history with 606 career boards.
Brown contributed nine points, while Omotola added eight points, eight rebounds and a trio of blocked shots. Meanwhile, Morgan equaled her career high with seven rebounds and led all players with four assists.
Williams made every shot she attempted on Saturday for North Carolina Central. She hit all six of her field goals and drained all six of her foul shots, as part of an 18-point, seven-rebound effort.
Nwachukwu posted seven points before fouling out, while Pollock corralled six rebounds.
Liberty will play its final pre-Christmas game Tuesday at 7 p.m., when the Lady Flames travel across the Commonwealth to square off with VCU.
North Carolina Central will remain at home for a Tuesday contest of its own. The Lady Eagles will host No. 7/8 West Virginia, with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m.