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Lady Flames Snap Losing Skid With 73-42 Win Against American
Eleven different players got into the scoring column for Liberty, which enjoyed its best offensive output since a 75-71 win at Virginia on Nov. 20, 2006 and ended a season-high, four-game losing skid. The Lady Flames are now 7-7 on the season and have won four out of their five home tilts.
American, which saw leading scorer Liz Hayes limited to four points, nearly 13 below her season average, dropped its third-straight decision. The Eagles depart Lynchburg with a 5-10 overall mark.
The Lady Flames scored four points on their first possession of the evening, courtesy of a Moriah Frazee lay-up and a Jamie Feagin putback of a missed free throw.
American knotted the score at four apiece on back-to-back perimeter jumpers by Hayes and Nicole Ryan, the second of which came at 18:49 of the opening half.
The count would also be tied at 9 and 13 during a tightly-contested opening nine minutes of action.
Rachel Hammond came off of Carey Green's bench to nail a pair of three-pointers during an 11-0 run. Molly Frazee capped the burst with a jumper with 6:09 left in the opening stanza, making Liberty's lead 24-13.
The Eagles were held scoreless for 5:15, missing four-consecutive field-goal attempts prior to Abby Lipskis' bank shot with 5:37 showing on the first-half clock.
Liberty took its largest lead up to that point, 30-15, at 4:05 after Roli-Ann Nikagbatse tossed in the last four points of a 6-0 run.
American cut the deficit to 11 points, 30-19, on Talicia Jackson's fast break jumper 3:35 before the intermission.
The Lady Flames then recorded eight of the half's final 10 tallies. The ambidextrous Michelle Parker made a pair of left-handed attempts during the surge which lifted the home team to a 38-21 halftime advantage.
Nine different Liberty players got into the scoring column during the opening half, paced by Nikagbatse's seven markers. The Lady Flames, who had shot under 40 percent in four-straight contests, found their shooting touch, connecting on 16-of-29 (55.2 percent) of their first-half field goals.
Megan Frazee led all players with five caroms in the first half, helping Liberty record an 18-16 edge on the glass.
Defensively, the Lady Flames limited American to 9-of-28 field goal shooting (32.1 percent), including 0-of-5 from behind the three-point arc, during the first 20 minutes of play. The latter stat was notable because the Eagles average more than seven made three-pointers per game.
Liberty opened the second half with a 6-0 run, lifting its lead to 44-21 on two Moriah Frazee charity tosses at 18:10.
Ryan banked in a three-pointer from the wing with 16:22 left, cutting the Eagles' deficit to 21 points, 49-28.
Megan Frazee wrapped up Liberty's ensuing 8-0 run with two free throws at 13:58. The surge, which featured five tallies by Nikagbatse, increased the Lady Flame lead to 57-28.
The Lady Flames' lead reached 30 points for the first time in the contest, 65-35, with 10:32 left, as Rebecca Lightfoot canned a lay-up.
American got as close as 27 points, 69-42, on a Stephanie N'Garsanet jumper at the 2:40 mark, before Liberty scored the game's last four points to make the final score 73-42.
Megan Frazee sparked Liberty's balanced attack with 13 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes of work. Nikagbatse fell just one point shy of her career high, ending the evening with a dozen markers. Molly Frazee tossed in eight of her 10 tallies after halftime and shared the team lead with six boards.
Parker dished out a career-best nine assists, marking the most helpers by a Liberty player since Daina Staugaitiene recorded 10 assists against Morgan State on Nov. 22, 2002.
Liberty owned the paint, scoring 38 points in the lane to American's 14 and outrebounding the visitors by a 39-33 count.
Ryan was the only Eagle to reach double figures, nailing all three of American's three-pointers on her way to a 15-point outing. The Eagles shot only 31.6 percent (18-of-57) for the game.
American will open the Patriot League portion of its schedule on Saturday at 5 p.m., playing the middle contest of a three-game road trip at Lehigh.
Liberty will conclude its brief, two-game homestand Friday evening at 7 p.m. when Route 460 rival Longwood visits the Vines Center for the Lady Flames' final non-conference outing of the regular season.