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Liberty Scores 95 on Best Field Trip Ever Day
The Liberty women's basketball team returned to the win column in a big way, Monday afternoon at the Vines Center. Five players scored in double figures as the Lady Flames racked up a season-high point total in a 95-39 victory over Virginia Union.
The game was played in front of 3,230 fans on Liberty's inaugural Best Field Trip Ever Day, with more than 2,000 area elementary and middle school students in attendance. It was the Lady Flames' largest crowd at the Vines Center since a Feb. 20, 2010 victory over Coastal Carolina drew 3,387.
Devon Brown led all players with 22 points, despite playing only 18 minutes. Her effort helped the Lady Flames bounce back from a 60-56 loss to North Carolina A&T on Saturday and improve to 8-4 on the season.
Virginia Union dropped to 3-5 on the season and 0-7 all-time against Liberty, despite 17 points by reigning CIAA Player of the Week Ashle Freeman.
Liberty jumped out to an 11-0 advantage to start the game, before Freeman got Virginia Union on the board with a three-pointer from the right corner at the 14:58 mark.
Freeman's triple started a 7-2 surge by the visiting Panthers, which culminated with her layup at 12:22 which trimmed the deficit to 13-7.
The Lady Flames held Virginia Union to two made field goals during the remainder of the period, outscoring the Panthers, 28-5. As a result, Liberty owned a 41-12 lead at halftime.
Liberty shot 43.8 percent (14-of-32) on field goals during the first half, while limiting Virginia Union to 17.9 percent (5-of-28). The Lady Flames also got to the free throw line 16 times, sinking 11 of them for 68.8 percent. Meanwhile, the Panthers missed their only two first-half free throw tries.
Liberty won the first-half rebounding battle, 27-19, and scored 18 points in the paint to the Panthers' four.
Brown scored a half-best 10 points for the Lady Flames, while Tolu Omotola chipped in seven points and six rebounds.
Freeman's five points led Virginia Union during the opening stanza. Teammate Carla Cowherd collected a team-high four rebounds.
The Panthers made four of their first five field goal attempts to start the second half, pulling to within 47-21 on Freeman's trifecta from the left wing with 16:31 remaining.
Brown and Reagan Miller scored the first 13 points of Liberty's ensuing 14-0 run. Katelyn Adams' foul shot at the 12:37 mark increased the home team's cushion to 40 points, 61-21.
Later in the half, Adams scored six straight Liberty points, including a layup from the left block which made the score 77-26 with 6:38 to play.
The Lady Flames' lead got as large as 59 points (85-26), on Omotola's putback at the 3:09 mark.
Liberty's final 56-point margin of victory (95-39) was the Lady Flames' most sizable win since a 99-42 home triumph over Charleston Southern on Feb. 18, 2008.
The Lady Flames shot 60.6 percent (20-of-33) from the field after halftime to end the contest at a season-high 52.3 percent (34-of-65). Liberty also shot well from three-point range, finishing at 53.8 percent (7-of-13).
For the fourth time in the last five games, the Lady Flames held their opponent below 30 percent field goal shooting. Virginia Union closed the contest at 27.1 percent (16-of-59) from the floor.
Liberty outrebounded its guests, 56-29, and scored 31 points off of 26 Panther turnovers.
Brown scored over 20 points for the fifth time this season, while sinking all three of her three-point attempts.
Omotola scored 13 points and pulled down a matching number of rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Her rebound total equaled the redshirt senior's career high. Fellow starting post player Jasmine Gardner just missed a double-double, with 11 points and nine caroms.
Adams contributed 11 points and eight rebounds off the Liberty bench, while Sadalia Ellis added a career-high 10 of the Lady Flames' 41 bench points.
Liberty recorded a season-best 24 assists, with Emily Frazier's five helpers leading the team.
Brittany Campbell equaled her season high with eight points for the Lady Flames, with Terika Lunsford scoring a season-best six markers. Julia Winn also notched the first three points of her collegiate career, on a trifecta from the right corner late in the second half.
Melyce Brown and Parress Davis complemented Freeman's offensive output with six points each for the Panthers. Brown, Davis and Cowherd pulled down five rebounds apiece.
Liberty will take to the road for its final pre-Christmas contest. The Lady Flames will play at VCU (5-5) on Thursday, with tipoff slated for 2 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Virginia Union will not play again until the calendar flips to 2013. The Panthers will open a homestand on Jan. 3 against Winston-Salem State, with tipoff at 7 p.m.