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Sophomores Star In Lady Flames' 91-53 Season-Opening Triumph Over Norfolk State

November 11, 2006
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Megan Frazee led all players with 19 points and 13 boards.

Megan Frazee led all players with 19 points and 13 boards.

Sophomore guard/forward Megan Frazee excelled in her return from a knee injury and the Liberty sophomore class as a whole scored 66 of the Lady Flames' points in a 91-53 season-opening win over Norfolk State at the Vines Center Saturday evening. 

Frazee led all players in both points (19) and rebounds (13) and added six assists in her first game action since suffering a season-ending ACL injury last season on Jan. 16, 2006. Her efforts helped the Lady Flames score their most points since a 94-75 win at Richmond on Dec. 4, 1999. 

Liberty, which won its home opener for the sixth-straight season, starts 1-0. Norfolk State, also playing its season opener, falls to 0-1. 

Karolina Piotrkiewicz and Moriah Frazee made back-to-back transition layups on Liberty's first two possessions of the contest to get the Lady Flames' season off to a fast start. 

Consecutive three-pointers by the Spartans' Tiffany Jenkins highlighted a 13-1 run. Another three-pointer, this one by Ebony Gibbs, capped the burst and gave the visitors a 14-7 lead with 14:20 showing on the first-half clock. 

Turnovers plagued the Lady Flames in the early going. Liberty committed nine first-half miscues, leading to 10 Spartan points. 

Norfolk State led, 16-9, before Moriah and Megan Frazee combined to score seven-consecutive markers during a 9-0 burst. Liberty reclaimed the lead at 18-16 on a fast break layup by Roli-Ann Nikagbatse at 11:57. 

The third member of Liberty's triplets, Molly Frazee, connected from long-distance at the 9:14 mark, igniting a 20-0 run by the Lady Flames, much of which came with Liberty's second unit on the floor. A pair of Megan Frazee foul shots provided the home team with a 45-23 advantage 3:05 before halftime. Rebecca Lightfoot scored five of her 10 first-half points during the extended surge. 

Meanwhile, increased pressure by the Lady Flames' defense forced Norfolk State into 15-straight missed shots. The visitors went 6:32 without a point before Shawn Hillman hit a three-pointer with 2:51 left in the half. 

The Lady Flames, who shot 51.5 percent (17-33) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, took a 20-point lead (47-27) into the locker room. The 47 first-half points were the most scored by a Lady Flames team since Liberty posted 48 first-half markers on Feb. 6, 2003 in an 86-66 home win over Hampton. 

Liberty also outrebounded its opponent, 32-19, in the opening half. Nine of those boards came courtesy of Megan Frazee, who also posted 10 points and five assists in an action-packed 13 minutes of work. 

Jenkins led Norfolk State with seven first-half points. More than half of the Spartans' first-half points came from long range, as the visitors connected on five-of-13 three-point attempts. 

In the second half, the visitors trimmed the lead to 18 on another three-pointer. This one, by Toia Johnson at the 15:43 mark, making the score 55-37. 

Liberty responded with an 18-3 run that included eight made free throws. Nikagbatse connected on a trio of layups during the burst. A layup by Moriah Frazee gave Liberty a 33-point lead (73-40). 

Norfolk State endured another dry spell during that run, going 4:41 without a point before Nadege Dareus scored from inside the paint at the 7:09 mark. Tiffany Jenkins followed with a pair of charity tosses to reduce the Liberty advantage to 29 points, 73-44. 

That was as close as the visitors would get as the Lady Flames went on to wrap up a 38-point victory. 

Rebounding was a key all night for Liberty. The Lady Flames owned a 25-rebound advantage (62-37). Twenty of those caroms were of the offensive variety, leading to 20 second-chance points for the home team. 

The Lady Flames also moved the ball well, as evidenced by their 25 assists, and their defense limited the Spartans to 25.4 percent shooting from the floor (17-67). 

Five Liberty players reached double figures in points, including all three Frazees. Moriah Frazee notched 14 points and seven rebounds, while Molly Frazee matched career-high totals in both points (10) and rebounds (5). 

Lightfoot pitched in with 11 markers and Nikagbatse added 10 points. Michelle Parker shared the team lead with six assists. 

Jenkins led Norfolk State with 15 points, sinking four of her five three-point attempts. Johnson also had a solid all-around effort, posting 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. 

Liberty will return to action at George Mason Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Lady Flames' first road contest of the year. 

Norfolk State will remain on the road, traveling to Virginia Union for a 6 p.m. tip-off Tuesday evening.