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Defense Sparks Lady Flames To Fourth-Straight Victory
Liberty is now 10-7 overall and 2-0 in Big South Conference action. The Lady Flames' victory over Charleston Southern marked their 19th-straight triumph over the Lady Buccaneers.
Charleston Southern's ledger slips to 6-9 overall and 0-2 in conference play. The Lady Buccaneers shot just 31 percent from the floor and leading scorer Keena Wicker was limited to 10 points, well below her 17.1 points per game season average.
Megan Frazee gave Liberty a 2-0 lead just six seconds into the contest, an advantage it would never relinquish, after sister Moriah Frazee won the opening tip-off. The Lady Flames' edge stood at only 6-5, though, at the 16:51 mark, after CSU's Rachel Potts nailed a three-pointer from the wing.
Liberty then embarked upon a 10-0 run, with Megan Frazee notching the first five points of the surge. Molly Frazee's old-fashioned three-point play with 13:06 left before halftime closed the run and lifted the Lady Flames to a 16-5 advantage.
The Lady Buccaneers came right back with a 7-2 run of their own, spanning the next 1:25 of game action. Shaunte Small's lay-up at 11:41 cut the Liberty lead to six points, 18-12.
The Lady Flames kept Charleston Southern off the scoreboard until Pam Tolbert's second three-pointer of the opening half ended her team's drought at the 7:27 mark. In the meantime, Liberty ran off four-consecutive markers, rebuilding its advantage to 10 points, 22-12, on a Karolina Piotrkiewicz lay-up with 8:55 showing on the first-half clock.
Tolbert's long-distance connection ignited a run of five-straight CSU points. Amber James finished the home team's quick surge with a pair of free throws at 7:04, closing the gap to 22-17.
Charleston Southern would score only two more points the remainder of the half. Liberty took advantage of the Lady Buccaneers' offensive struggles, scoring 10 of the stanza's final 12 points. Egle Smigelskaite tallied four points during the run, which wrapped up with the visiting Lady Flames holding a 32-19 halftime advantage.
Eleven different Lady Flames scored during the opening 20 minutes of play, led by Megan Frazee's seven markers. As a team, Liberty shot 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from the floor before halftime.
Charleston Southern connected on only seven field goals, three of which were of the three-point variety, during the first half, shooting 31.8 percent from the floor. The Lady Buccaneers were also coaxed by the Liberty defense into a dozen first-half miscues.
Megan Frazee and Piotrkiewicz evenly divided six Liberty rebounds before the intermission, helping the Lady Flames record an 18-13 edge in boards.
Liberty's lead ballooned to 21 points, 42-21, after an 8-0 Lady Flame surge during the early stages of the second half. Moriah Frazee tallied four points during the run, which closed with a left-handed lay-up by Michelle Parker with 17:26 remaining in the game.
The Lady Buccaneers scored three-straight points prior to a 12-0 run by Liberty. Courtney Watkins drained a quartet of charity tosses during the surge, including a pair which increased her team's lead to 54-24 at 12:50.
Liberty's lead hovered around 30 points for the rest of the evening. The visitors' advantage topped out at 35 markers, 70-35, with 50.6 seconds left, after the second of back-to-back three-pointers from the corner by Rachel Hammond. Those were the Lady Flames' only two three-pointers of the evening, as Liberty came close to snapping a 56-game streak of making at least one triple.
Allyson Fasnacht closed the contest's scoring with a driving, right-handed lay-up with just one-tenth of a second remaining. Liberty's final margin of victory was 72-39. The Lady Flames had not held their opponent to that few points since Columbia Union managed only 27 tallies at the Vines Center on Nov. 16.
Megan Frazee was the Lady Flames' scoring leader, tossing in 14 points. She also contributed four rebounds, three assists and a career-high four steals. Frazee contributed to Liberty's season-high 12 steals.
Hammond, the only other Liberty player to reach double figures, contributed a season-best 10 points. Parker topped the Lady Flames with six assists, and Piotrkiewicz grabbed seven rebounds during her 11 minutes of action, helping Liberty outrebound Charleston Southern, 43-28.
Wicker's 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals highlighted the Lady Buccaneer portion of the stat sheet. Charleston Southern's previous season-low point total before Monday evening was 53 points, the team's point total during Saturday's loss to Radford.
Monday evening's game marked the 100th Big South Conference game Carey Green has coached at Liberty. The Lady Flames have posted a 93-7 record in those contests.
Charleston Southern will follow the Lady Flames on the road back to Virginia, as the Lady Buccaneers' next contest is at Longwood on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Liberty will now prepare for its third-straight road contest to open Big South Conference play. The Lady Flames return to action at High Point on Saturday, tipping off at 4 p.m. The match-up with the Panthers will be Liberty's 12th game played away from the Vines Center in the first 18 contests of the season.