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Team Effort Leads Lady Flames To Comfortable Win Over Virginia Union
The victory, Liberty's third in four home games this season, improves the Lady Flames' season record to 6-3.
Virginia Union remains winless during its 2006-07 campaign. The Panthers depart Lynchburg with an 0-4 record.
Neither team scored until Virginia Union's Ashley Hill drained a three-pointer at the 17:31 mark.
Another Hill three-pointer lifted the visitors to a 6-3 lead at 16:43 before Liberty's offense began to awaken from a slumber. The Lady Flames shoot 22.2 percent from the floor and commit five turnovers in the first 6:06 of play.
Rebecca Lightfoot, making her first start of the season, gave Liberty its initial lead of the contest, 11-8, on a three-pointer with 12:53 showing on the clock. The bucket capped an 8-2 run which featured a pair of Lightfoot long-distance connections.
Liberty stretched its advantage to 15-10 before the visiting Panthers put together an 8-2 surge. Hill's third three-pointer of the opening half regained the lead for Virginia Union, 18-17, 6:27 before halftime.
However, the Panthers did not score for the next 6:05, finally breaking their scoreless drought on Kennedy's lay-up with 22 seconds left in the opening stanza.
Meanwhile, the Lady Flames tallied 14-consecutive points, including five by Moriah Frazee. Michelle Parker wrapped up the run with a pair of free throws at the 38-second mark which made the count, 31-18, in favor of Liberty.
The two squads exchanged baskets in the waning moments, making the Lady Flames' halftime lead 33-20.
Liberty and Virginia Union combined to make 20 first-half field goals, eight of which were of the three-point variety. The two squads also accumulated 25 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes of play.
The Panthers' Hill paced all players with nine points in the opening half, and Moriah Frazee led Liberty with seven first-half markers. Parker pulled down six rebounds prior to the intermission, matching her career high for an entire game, and helped Liberty own a 22-14 first-half rebounding edge.
The Lady Flames notched the first six points of the second half, extending their lead to 39-20 on a perimeter jumper by Parker with 17:57 remaining in the contest.
A Ciara Alston lay-up at 16:47 capped a 4-0 burst by the Panthers and trimmed the home team's advantage to 15 points, 39-24.
Liberty then broke the game wide open with a 13-3 run featuring five Roli-Ann Nikagbatse points. A Nikagbatse jumper with 12:52 left increased the Lady Flame lead to 52-27.
The Panthers, who chipped away at the 25-point margin for the remainder of the afternoon, poured in six of the game's next seven points, cutting the deficit to 53-33 on a three-pointer by Kennedy at 10:35.
The visitors then used a 10-1 run to trim the Liberty lead down to 59-46 on a Hill three-point play with 2:18 showing on the second-half clock.
Liberty regained its composure and put the game away with five-consecutive markers. Nikagbatse's acrobatic three-point play at the 1:32 mark gave the Lady Flames a 64-46 advantage.
The Lady Flames' first victory since a Nov. 25 win at Binghamton came by a final margin of 66-49. Liberty held its opponent under the 50-point mark for the third time this season.
Megan Frazee paced Liberty in both points (12) and assists (6) in her 22 minutes of work, equaling her career-high total in the latter category. Sister Moriah Frazee added 11 points and a team-best seven boards. Nikagbatse chipped in with 10 points, four assists and a trio of steals for the Lady Flames.
Kennedy led all players with 15 points, sparking the Panthers' offensive effort. Hill ended up with 13 markers and Katchona Johnson pulled down a game-high eight caroms.
The victory was hardly picture perfect for the Lady Flames, who shot just 52.2 percent from the free throw line and committed a season-high 25 turnovers. Liberty was able to limit Virginia Union to 32.1 percent from the field, outrebounding the Panthers, 46-32, and connect on a season-best eight three-pointers, though.
The Panthers will look for their initial win of the 2006-07 season Monday evening at 6 p.m., when they travel to Norfolk State.
Liberty will compete in the Caribbean Classic in Cancun, Mexico this coming week. The Lady Flames' first of two contests at the event will be a Tuesday match-up with Texas-Arlington (3-6, 0-0 Southland). Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. Eastern at the Galactic Ballroom.