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Liberty Survives Upset Bid in BSC Opener
|Emily Frazier's late three-pointer helped Liberty hold off Coastal Carolina for a 51-44 win on Friday.|
No. 1 seed Liberty only attempted two three-pointers during Friday's Advance Auto Parts Big South Women's Basketball Championship quarterfinal matchup against No. 8 seed Coastal Carolina. However, a late triple by Emily Frazier was the difference maker in the Lady Flames' hard-fought 51-44 triumph inside the Millis Center.
With the Lady Flames clinging to a 44-42 lead and the shot clock about to expire, Frazier tickled the twine from well beyond the three-point arc on the right wing. Her trifecta finally enabled Liberty to seize control of a game it trailed for much of the afternoon.
Frazier was one of four Liberty players to score in double figures on Friday, helping the Lady Flames improve to 21-9 on the year.
Liberty will now face the host team, No. 4 seed High Point, in the semifinal round. The Panthers defeated No. 5 seed Charleston Southern, 77-49, during Friday's second quarterfinal tilt. That game will tip off Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Millis Center. It may be seen on MASN, Fox College Sports Atlantic and WRTN 13.2 in the Lynchburg area.
Despite a stellar 25-point outing by Sydnei Moss, Coastal Carolina's season ends at 10-19. The Chanticleers have now lost their last 36 meetings with the Lady Flames.
Coastal Carolina used three triples, including two by Moss, during an early 9-0 burst. A Moss trifecta at the 13:19 mark made the score 12-5 in favor of the black-clad Chanticleers.
Coastal Carolina owned a 16-9 advantage 6:54 before halftime, when Devon Brown went down with an injury. With their leading scorer on the bench, the Lady Flames put together a 9-2 run, tying the game at 18-all on Frazier's left-handed layup at 3:57.
The two teams went back and forth for the remainder of the opening half, before the Chanticleers took a 26-24 halftime lead, thanks to a Moss jumper from the paint at the 36-second mark.
Liberty shot 47.4 percent (9-of-19) during the first half, as compared with just 33.3 percent (9-of-27) for the Chanticleers. However, Coastal Carolina turned 13 Liberty turnovers into 11 points.
The Lady Flames outrebounded Coastal Carolina in the first half, 20-11, led by Avery Warley's nine boards.
Tolu Omotola scored eight first-half points for Liberty, while Frazier chipped in seven markers. Both Omotola and Frazier made all three of their field goals in the opening half.
Moss led all players with 18 points during the first 20 minutes, including three of Coastal Carolina's four triples. The second team all-conference honoree scored the Chanticleers' final 12 points of the stanza.
Moss started the second-half scoring with a three-pointer from the left wing, pushing the Coastal Carolina cushion to five points, 29-24.
The Chanticleers still led by five, before Liberty held them scoreless for six and a half minutes. The Lady Flames scored eight points during that span, claiming a 34-31 lead on Jelena Antic's hoop with 12:49 left.
Coastal Carolina went right back on top with five straight markers. Katie Ahaus' three-pointer from the top of the key with 10:48 on the clock made it 36-34, Chanticleers.
Shortly thereafter, Liberty experienced an extended scoring drought of its own. While the Lady Flames were going nearly five and a half minutes without a point, Coastal Carolina built a 40-36 lead with 5:25 to play.
Liberty held the Chanticleers without a made field goal for the final 9:05, as the Lady Flames crafted their decisive comeback. Liberty went back on top for good on an Antic jumper at 2:03. That set the stage for Frazier's crucial three-pointer on the Lady Flames' next possession.
Coastal Carolina cut the gap to 47-44 when Moss hit a pair of free throws with 57.2 seconds on the clock. However, the Lady Flames put the game away when Warley and Antic each hit a pair of foul shots within the last 22 seconds.
The Lady Flames shot 50 percent (19-of-38) for the game, while making both of their three-point attempts. Liberty also hit 84.6 percent (11-of-13) of its charity tosses, including all six it took during the second half.
The Lady Flames' strong shooting performance enabled them to overcome 24 turnovers, which Coastal Carolina turned into 22 points.
Liberty also utilized stellar defense and rebounding. The Chanticleers hit just 28.6 percent (14-of-49) of their field goals, including just 22.7 percent (5-of-22) in the second half. They became the 13th straight team Liberty has held below the 58-point mark.
The Lady Flames also doubled up the Chanticleers on the glass, 38-19. Warley matched Coastal Carolina's rebound total single-handedly, and her 19 rebounds were the second-most ever by a Liberty player in the Big South Women's Basketball Championship. Additionally, the Washington, D.C. native moved into fifth place on Liberty's career rebounding list with 866 caroms.
Omotola paced Liberty's offensive attack with 14 points, making six of her seven field goal attempts. Warley and Antic chipped in a dozen points apiece, while Frazier added 10 markers.
Warley, who also blocked three shots, posted her 17th double-double of the season. Meanwhile, Antic narrowly missed a double-double of her own, recording eight rebounds and a three assists to complement her scoring output.
Moss played all 40 minutes in her final game for Coastal Carolina, tallying six rebounds, three assists and three steals to go along with her 25 points. Liberty was able to hold her to seven points after halftime, with Antic keeping an eye on Moss for most of the second period.
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green
"That's why they call it March Madness. In this tournament, seeds are only a starting point. Coastal Carolina is a good team and they battled us hard. Our team played hard as well and we are fortunate to continue on."
Coastal Carolina Head Coach Alan LeForce
"Frazier's three-pointer from the corner really hurt us, that put them up five and kind of put the game out of reach. We played hard and had a chance, but we fell just short."