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Reynolds Leads High Point Past Liberty

January 7, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Avery Warley finished with 19 points and 16 rebounds on Saturday, breaking Katie Feenstra's program career rebounding record in the process.
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High Point junior Erin Reynolds led the Panthers to a come-from-behind 73-69 overtime win at Liberty in a battle of Big South Conference unbeatens, Saturday evening inside the Vines Center. Reynolds scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in the final three minutes of regulation and overtime, including a three-pointer which forced the extra period.

Liberty held a 63-60 lead in the final minute of the second half before Reynolds banked in a triple from the top of the key to tie the score and force the Lady Flames' first overtime contest since Jan. 20, 2007 at High Point. The Panthers never trailed in overtime, scoring the first four points of the five-minute period to secure a key road win.

High Point improves to 8-6 overall and 3-0 in the Big South, tying the Panthers with Charleston Southern for first place in the conference standings. Four High Point players scored in double figures, helping the Panthers win at the Vines Center for the first time since Feb. 10, 2007.

Liberty falls to 6-7 overall and evens its Big South record at 1-1. The setback spoiled the celebration of Avery Warley, who broke Katie Feenstra's program career rebounding record as part of a 19-point, 16-rebound evening. Warley now has 1,047 career boards.

High Point's Tayler Tremblay opened the evening's scoring by making a wide-open three-pointer on the Panthers' opening possession of the game.

The Lady Flames did not take their first lead until Tolu Omotola put back a missed shot for a layup, making it 7-5 with 15:14 remaining in the opening half. Liberty's advantage was short-lived, though, as Laura Whitt beat the shot clock buzzer with a three-pointer on High Point's next trip to the offensive end.

Liberty then fashioned the game's first extended run, scoring the contest's next seven points. Danika Dale's runner in the lane put the Lady Flames in front 14-8 at the 12:41 mark.

High Point's quick 5-0 burst, capped off by Lindsay Puckett's steal and layup at 10:54, got the Panthers to within 14-13.

Catherine Kearney came off the Liberty bench to score six straight Lady Flame points, bolstering the home team's advantage to 20-15, 9:35 before halftime.

Warley enjoyed her history-making moment shortly thereafter, grabbing her own missed shot and putting it back into the hoop with 7:59 to play in the half. The hoop made the score 24-18 in favor of the Lady Flames, and the carom was the program record-breaking 1,034th of her collegiate career.

Liberty took its first double-digit lead of the game, 32-22, with 4:16 remaining in the opening stanza. Warley's layup off of a nice feed from Reagan Miller closed out an 8-0 Liberty surge.

High Point held the Lady Flames scoreless for the final 2:42 of the period, closing the half with a 7-0 run. Cheyenne Parker tallied her first three points of the game during the run, which made the halftime score 34-31, Liberty.

Both teams struggled shooting from the field during the first half. Liberty hit 35 percent (14-of-40) of its field goals, while High Point checked in at 29.4 percent (10-of-34).

The Lady Flames controlled the paint for the most part during the first 20 minutes, outrebounding their guests, 27-24, and scoring 22 points in the paint to High Point's eight.

Meanwhile, the Panthers converted nine Liberty first-half turnovers into 13 points.

Individually, Devon Brown led all players with 11 points before halftime, to go along with three steals. Warley added eight points and seven rebounds for the Lady Flames.

Tremblay and Shamia Brown led High Point's offensive attack in the first half with seven points apiece. Parker led both teams with 11 opening-half rebounds.

Whitt extended High Point's overall run to 9-0 when her perimeter jumper on the Panthers' first possession of the second half trimmed their deficit to a single point, 34-33.

Liberty countered with an 8-0 run, taking a 42-33 lead with 16:29 to play when Dale hit a reverse layup.

The Lady Flames were still in front by eight (47-39) before High Point made another surge at them. Reynolds tallied three points for the Panthers, making it 47-45 when she split a pair of free throws at 12:41.

Liberty's cushion continued to fluctuate within the single digits. Brown's old-fashioned three-point play at the 9:54 mark took the lead back up to nine at 56-47.

The Lady Flames' lead again reached nine (60-51) when Warley canned a layup with 6:26 showing on the clock.

But Liberty made only one more field goal during the remainder of regulation, enabling High Point to chip away at the advantage. Reynolds made it a two-point game at 60-58 with a floater at the 2:58 mark.

Brown hit a three-pointer from deep in the left corner with 1:24 to play, giving Liberty a 63-58 advantage. But Reynolds and the Panthers did not give up.

Reynolds drew a foul and made both free throws on High Point's next possession, cutting the deficit to 63-60 at the 1:05 mark.

After forcing a shot clock violation by the Lady Flames, Reynolds connected on her aforementioned game-tying three-pointer with 16.5 ticks left.

Liberty had one final chance to win the game in regulation, but Brown's three-point try clanged off the back of the rim.

So, the Lady Flames headed to overtime for the first time in nearly five years. Unfortunately, Saturday's contest ended the same way as Liberty's last overtime game had, with a loss to High Point.

After the two teams went scoreless for the first 2:37 of overtime, High Point post players Brown and Parker each scored, staking the Panthers to a 67-63 lead that they never relinquished.

The closest Liberty got the rest of the way was two points down (71-69), when Kearney banked in the first three-pointer of her collegiate career with 7.5 seconds remaining.

However, Reynolds went four-for-four from the free throw line in the final 11 seconds of overtime, sandwiching Kearney's triple and sealing High Point's victory.

Liberty and High Point finished with similar shooting numbers from the field on the night. The Lady Flames ended the game at 36.4 percent (28-of-77) from the floor and 23.1 percent (3-of-13) from three-point range. Meanwhile, High Point finished at 34.2 percent (25-of-73) from the field and 23.8 percent (5-of-21) from beyond the arc.

The Panthers had the upper hand from the foul line, shooting 75 percent (18-of-24), compared to Liberty's 71.4 percent (10-of-14).

Liberty won the rebounding battle for the 40th straight game, 57-43, and scored 46 points in the paint. High Point forced 24 Lady Flame turnovers, which resulted in 24 points.

Warley, who now ranks No. 2 in Big South Conference history for rebounds, notched her second straight double-double and her fifth of the season.

Three other Lady Flames scored in double figures, including Brown with 19 points to go along with her eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Kearney played one of the best games of her young career, scoring a career-high 13 points, including five of Liberty's six tallies in overtime. She also collected eight rebounds in 22 minutes of work off the bench.

Dale chipped in 10 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals in a career-high 40 minutes of action.

For High Point, Reynolds complemented her 21 points with six rebounds and six assists.

Brown (13 points), Tremblay (11 points) and Whitt (10 points) all joined Reynolds in double digits. Parker paced all players in both rebounds (18) and blocked shots (4) for the Panthers.

Both the Lady Flames and the Panthers will be back in action on Monday. Liberty will wrap up its quick two-game homestand at 7 p.m., when Campbell visits the Vines Center for the first time since Nov. 29, 1999.

Meanwhile, High Point will travel across the Commonwealth for a Big South clash against Radford at the Dedmon Center. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. on Monday evening.