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Brown Leads Liberty to 69-64 Victory at PC
Liberty's Devon Brown scored 20 of her game-high 27 points after halftime, helping the Lady Flames overcome a six point second-half deficit to post a 69-64 win at Presbyterian College, Monday evening.
Brown also led all players with 11 rebounds, helping the Lady Flames improve to 18-8 overall and 13-2 in Big South action. Liberty is now three and a half games ahead of High Point and Winthrop atop the conference standings and can clinch the No. 1 seed for the Big South Women's Basketball Championship with a victory Saturday against Gardner-Webb.
Presbyterian College, which had its four-game winning streak snapped, falls to 12-13 overall and 6-8 in the Big South.
Liberty held Presbyterian College without a field goal for nearly four minutes to start the game, but was only able to build a 4-1 advantage during that time.
The Blue Hose broke their field goal drought at the 16:19 mark, when Dria David's triple from the left wing dropped through the net to tie the score at 4-all. The trifecta opened a back and forth stretch of play which featured six ties and 10 lead changes over the next 11 and a half minutes.
Liberty posted a 5-0 run to take its largest lead of the opening half, at 25-21, on a Devon Brown three-pointer at the 3:29 mark.
The Lady Flames did not relinquish the advantage during the remainder of the period, but the Blue Hose cut their halftime deficit to one (27-26) on Devin Fothergill's layup in the closing seconds.
Presbyterian College shot 43.5 percent (10-of-23) from the field during the first half, as compared with just 35.7 percent (10-of-28) for the Lady Flames.
Liberty doubled up the host Blue Hose on the glass in the first 20 minutes, 22-11, and recorded eight second-chance points.
Brown paced the Lady Flames in both points (7) and rebounds (6) during the opening half. Danika Dale and Reagan Miller chipped in five points apiece.
David and Shonda Burnside scored seven and six points, respectively, before the intermission to top PC's scoring attack.
Presbyterian College opened the second half on a 7-0 run, building a 33-27 edge when David converted a Liberty turnover into a fast break layup at the 18:57 mark.
The Lady Flames then used the foul line to climb their way back, making seven of their first nine free throw attempts of the second half. Avery Warley split a pair from the line at 13:41, giving Liberty a 36-35 advantage.
PC came back to knot things up at 39 apiece with 9:04 remaining, when Sherece Smith canned a perimeter jumper.
Liberty then opened up some breathing room for the first time in the contest with an ensuing 12-1 burst over the next two minutes. Brown scored 10 of the Lady Flames' points during the run, including an old-fashioned three-point play with 7:03 left that made it 51-40, Liberty.
The Blue Hose battled back, using a pair of three-point shots during a 10-4 surge. Karlee Taylor's trifecta found the basket as the shot clock buzzer sounded, cutting PC's deficit to 55-50 at the 2:44 mark.
Liberty slowed down the Presbyterian College momentum with back-to-back layups by Warley and LaKendra Washington. Washington's coast-to-coast hoop with 1:40 to play bolstered the Liberty lead to 59-50.
The Lady Flame advantage reached a dozen points, at 65-53 on Brown's pair of free throws at 1:16.
The Blue Hose then embarked upon a furious final-minute comeback attempt, outscoring the Lady Flames, 11-2, over the next 63 seconds. Kristen Stevens made it a single-possession game at 67-64 when her three-pointer tickled the twine at the 12.5-second mark.
Liberty, which went 10-of-10 from the foul line in the final 1:29 of the contest, fittingly sealed the 69-64 victory with two Brown charity tosses. The Lady Flames improved to 9-0 all-time against the Blue Hose with the hard-fought win.
The Lady Flames shot 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from the field and 87 percent (20-of-23) from the foul line during the second half to pull out the victory. For the game, Liberty ended up at 44.4 percent (20-of-45) from the floor and a season-best 82.8 percent (24-of-29) from the free throw line.
Presbyterian College also shot the ball well on the night, finishing up at 44.9 percent (22-of-49) from the floor and 78.6 percent (11-of-14) from the free throw line. The Blue Hose also made nine triples, shooting 56.3 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
Liberty finished with notable advantages in rebounding (37-21), points in the paint (26-16) and second-chance points (26-16).
Individually, Brown's 27 points and 11 rebounds both equaled season highs for the redshirt junior. It was her third double-double in her last four outings. Brown made nine of her 10 free throws and has shot 27-of-29 from the charity stripe during the last three games.
Miller chipped in 13 points and a game-high five assists, making both of her three-point tries and five-of-six free throws. Warley added 11 points and eight rebounds, despite only playing 21 minutes.
The Blue Hose put three players into double figures, as David scored 14 points, Taylor added 13 markers and Burnside finished with 10 points.
Liberty will now close out the 2011-12 regular season with a three-game homestand at the Vines Center, beginning Saturday at 4 p.m. against Gardner-Webb. The Lady Flames will attempt to complete a regular-season sweep of the defending Big South champion Runnin' Bulldogs on Senior Day.
Liberty's senior duo of Danika Dale and Avery Warley will be honored prior to tipoff of Saturday's basketball doubleheader, which also includes a Campbell at Liberty men's basketball contest at 7 p.m.
The Blue Hose will take to the road for their next two games, including a Saturday 2 p.m. matinee at High Point.