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Liberty's Depth Keys First Win of 2012-13
Keyed by 49 bench points, Liberty picked up its first win of the 2012-13 season, Friday evening at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames defeated Grambling State by an 81-50 score in a Preseason WNIT consolation round contest.
Four Lady Flames scored in double figures during a game which was tightly contested, before an 18-0 run which spanned both halves. Liberty is now 1-1 after earning its second Preseason WNIT victory in program history. Despite Cierra Ceazer's game-high 19 points, the Lady Tigers fall to 0-2 on the season.
Grambling State held Liberty scoreless for the first three minutes of play, as the black-clad Lady Tigers opened the game with a 4-0 advantage.
Tolu Omotola's putback hoop at the 13:06 mark brought the Lady Flames to within a single point at 14-13. Grambling State then used a trio of three-pointers to spark an 11-2 burst. Dayla Threatt's triple at 10:24 put the visitors on top, 25-15.
Emily Frazier helped the Lady Flames battle back, scoring the first seven points of a 12-2 surge. The home team knotted the score, 27-27, on LaKendra Washington's three-pointer from the right corner, 7:43 before halftime.
Frazier gave Liberty its first lead of the night, 30-29, on a three-pointer of her own at the 5:36 mark. Ceazer's layup just 14 seconds later regained the advantage for Grambling State at 31-30.
Liberty then ended the first half on an 11-0 run, with freshman Jaymee Fisher-Davis scoring the first five points of her career during the span. Her three-pointer during the closing seconds gave the Lady Flames a 41-31 advantage heading into the locker room.
Grambling State shot better from the field in the first half than Liberty, hitting 46.4 percent (13-of-28) of its tries, compared with 39 percent (16-of-41) for the Lady Flames.
However, the Lady Flames enjoyed a 26-16 rebounding edge, turning 16 first-half offensive rebounds into 14 second chance points. Liberty also benefitted from 10 steals and 22 bench points, while sinking six of its 11 three-point attempts.
Frazier was Liberty's first-half leader off the bench, tallying a team-high 10 points during the period. Omotola added eight points, while Jasmine Gardner collected a team-leading five rebounds.
Ceazer paced all players with a dozen first-half points for the Lady Tigers, including three made triples. She was also one of three Grambling State players to pull in three rebounds before the break.
Omotola helped Liberty get off to a strong start after halftime, scoring the first five points of the Lady Flames' 7-0 second half-opening run. Brittany Campbell's layup at the 16:04 mark capped Liberty's overall 18-0 surge during a 9:35 scoring drought by Grambling State and made the score 48-31.
The Lady Tigers turned up the defensive pressure, countering with seven straight points of their own. Ceazer's fourth made triple of the night cut the deficit to 48-38 with 14:37 to play.
Liberty outscored Grambling State, 19-4, over the next seven minutes, building a 67-42 cushion on Reagan Miller's layup in traffic at 7:44.
The Lady Tigers got no closer than 23 the rest of the night. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames' lead got as large as 32 points, before cruising to an 81-50 victory in their 2012-13 home opener.
After a hot-shooting start to the game, Grambling State connected on just two of its 36 field goal attempts during the final 20 minutes. The Lady Tigers finished the game shooting 23.4 percent (15-of-64) from the field, while Liberty climbed to 42.9 percent (33-of-77).
The Lady Flames finished the evening with pronounced advantages in rebounds (63-38), points in the paint (54-16), second-chance points (23-8) and bench points (49-16).
Omotola led Liberty's scoring attack, which featured points from 12 different players. The redshirt senior forward ended up with 13 points on 6-of-6 field goal shooting and came up with a team-high three of the Lady Flames' 14 steals.
Devon Brown, Ashley Rininger and Frazier chipped in 10 points apiece for the Lady Flames, while Rininger tied Gardner for the team lead with eight caroms.
Liberty's freshmen combined to score 28 points and rookie Sadalia Ellis distributed a game-high seven assists.
Bianca McCowan complemented Ceazer's effort for Grambling State, tallying eight points and leading all players with 10 rebounds. Watkins topped her team with four assists.
Liberty will now meet Sacred Heart Saturday at 7 p.m. in another Preseason WNIT consolation round tilt at the Vines Center. The defending Northeast Conference champion Pioneers (1-1) were 66-62 victors over Sam Houston State in Friday's opening game.
Saturday's action will open with a 4 p.m. matchup between Grambling State and Sam Houston State (0-2).