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Liberty's Defense Impressive in 64-44 Win
Liberty held Coastal Carolina to 28.3 percent field goal shooting and came up with 13 steals in an impressive defensive effort, Saturday afternoon inside Kimbel Arena. The performance led to a 64-44 victory, clinching at least a share of the Big South regular-season title for the Lady Flames.
Liberty improves to 18-8 overall and 12-1 in Big South Conference action, while extending several winning streaks. The Lady Flames have won nine straight games overall and 35 straight matchups against the Chanticleers. The victory was also Liberty's 15th in a row at Kimbel Arena, which is in its final season as Coastal Carolina's home court.
Coastal Carolina, which had nine three-pointers among its 15 made field goals and managed only two points in the paint, drops its third contest in a row. The Chanticleers are now 9-17 overall and 3-11 in conference play.
The lead changed hands four times during the first four minutes of the game. The Lady Flames then held the homestanding Chanticleers scoreless for more than nine minutes, posting a 17-0 run during the meantime. Five different players scored during the surge, including Brittany Campbell, whose mid-range jumper at 6:09 made the score 26-8, Liberty.
Katie Ahaus ended the Chanticleers' drought at the 5:02 mark, draining a three-pointer to pull her team within 15 points.
The margin was 16 before Liberty posted a 10-0 run near the end of the half. LaKendra Washington made five free throws during the spurt, including a trio 24.1 seconds before halftime, which gave the Lady Flames their largest lead of the opening stanza, 42-16.
Jessica Noll drilled a three-pointer on Coastal Carolina's final possession of the period, making it 42-19 at the break.
Liberty shot 42.4 percent (14-of-33) from the field in the first half, as compared with just 25.9 percent (7-of-27) for the Chanticleers. Five of Coastal Carolina's seven made field goals came from beyond the three-point arc.
The Lady Flames shot all 18 of the opening half's foul shots, making 13 of them for a 72.2 percent clip. Liberty also outrebounded its host, 24-13, and forced 13 Chanticleer turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
Devon Brown scored 13 first-half points to lead all players, while Avery Warley chipped in eight points and seven rebounds. Emily Frazier came up with four of the Lady Flames' nine steals.
Seniors scored all of Coastal Carolina's points in the first half, including six by Ahaus.
After Brown opened the second-half scoring with a layup, Coastal Carolina trimmed its deficit to 44-24 on a three-pointer by Noll and a jumper by Katie White.
The Chanticleers eventually chipped another point off of Liberty's lead, making the score 49-30 with 15:48 on a White free throw.
That was as close as Coastal Carolina got, however, as the Lady Flames countered with a charity toss by Kylee Beecher and a fast break layup by Danika Dale.
Liberty's advantage grew as large as 28 points, 63-35 with 3:55 to play, on Beecher's second three-pointer of the afternoon.
The Chanticleers then outscored the Lady Flames by a 9-1 count the rest of the way, making the final score 64-44. Liberty has now held nine-straight opponents under the 60-point mark.
The win over his alma mater came in head coach Carey Green's 200th game against a Big South Conference opponent. Green's teams are now 183-17 all-time against conference opposition.
The Lady Flames finished the contest at 39.7 percent (23-of-58) from the field and 71.4 percent (15-of-21) from the foul line, making over 70 percent of their free throws for the third straight game.
Coastal Carolina's nine triples came on 29 attempts, which put the home team at 31 percent from beyond the arc. The Chanticleers were also 71.4 percent (5-of-7) at the charity stripe.
Liberty used its size to its advantage, grabbing 45 rebounds to Coastal Carolina's 25 and tallying 18 second-chance points. The Lady Flames also notched 36 points in the paint to the Chanticleers' two.
Brown finished as the Lady Flames' leading scorer with 15 points, making her one of five Liberty players with eight or more points.
Warley joined Brown in double figures with 10 points, but just missed her sixth-consecutive double-double, pulling down a game-high nine boards. The redshirt junior center did become the sixth Lady Flame and the 12th Big South Conference player ever to grab 800 career rebounds. She ended the game with 807 career caroms.
Juniors Dale and Beecher each posted nine points. Dale's production came in the first start of her career, while Beecher's scoring output marked a season high.
Frazier chipped in eight points, while leading the team in both assists (3) and steals (6). The freshman's half-dozen thefts set a career high and were the most by any Lady Flame this season.
Noll made four three-pointers for the Chanticleers, on her way to a season-high 15 points. One of five Coastal Carolina senior players honored before the contest, Noll also added three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Liberty will remain within the Palmetto State for its final regular-season road contest, Monday at Charleston Southern. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. as the Lady Flames seek their 29th consecutive victory in the head-to-head series with the Lady Buccaneers. A win would also enable Liberty to clinch the No. 1 seed for the Big South Women's Basketball Championship.
Coastal Carolina will host High Point Monday at 7 p.m. in the Chanticleers' final regular-season contest at Kimbel Arena.