Liberty closed out the first half of its Big South Conference schedule in impressive fashion, Tuesday at Gore Arena. The Lady Flames pulled out a gritty 58-52 victory over Big South co-leader Campbell, halting the Camels' five-game winning streak.
Campbell led 46-42 with 4:29 remaining before Liberty took the lead for good with a 7-0 run, punctuated by five straight KK Barbour points. Tatyana Crowder added a back-breaking triple from the corner with 57.1 seconds left and the Lady Flames were 6-of-6 from the foul line down the stretch to improve to 2-10 away from the Vines Center this season.
Liberty, now 7-13 overall and 6-3 in the Big South, is in sole possession of third place in the conference standings, just one game behind co-leaders Campbell (15-5, 7-2 Big South) and Radford.
Nene Johnson paced the Lady Flames' balanced attack with 13 points, becoming Liberty's eighth different leading scorer in the first nine conference games. Keyen Green chipped in 12 points, a game-high nine rebounds and a game-high three blocks, while Barbour tallied all 11 of her points in the second half.
Facing the nation's No. 1-ranked scoring defense, Liberty scored 24 fourth-quarter points on 66.7 percent (8-of-12) shooting from the field, 100 percent from three-point range (2-of-2) and 100 percent from the foul line (6-of-6). Liberty also finished the game with notable advantages in rebounding (33-22) and blocked shots (7-0).
Campbell, which made 50 percent (8-of-16) of its three-point tries, saw Summer Price score 18 of her game-high 20 points after halftime. Big South Player of the Week MaKala Rouse added a dozen markers for the Camels.
Liberty opened the contest with an 8-0 run, as four different Lady Flames scored points during the first 3:07 of play. The Camels shot 3-of-4 from beyond the three-point line during the first quarter, but the Lady Flames maintained their lead throughout the period. Paced by Green's six points and four rebounds, Liberty led 14-11 after 10 minutes.
The Lady Flames did not make a field goal for 6:12 to start the second quarter, enabling Campbell to tie the score at 15-15 on Rouse's driving layup at 6:07. Liberty then closed the half with a 6-0 surge, including back-to-back hoops by Johnson, taking a 21-15 halftime lead.
Liberty held Campbell to its lowest-scoring half of the season, as the Camels shot just 19.2 percent (5-of-26) from the field. Meanwhile, Green (8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks) helped the Lady Flames achieve a 23-13 first-half rebounding advantage.
Johnson's driving bank shot at 5:49 of the third quarter capped off a 6-0 Liberty run, providing the Lady Flames their first double-digit lead of the night, 27-17. Price scored eight points during the remainder of the quarter, helping the Camels trim their deficit to 34-31 heading to the final period.
An action-packed fourth quarter saw two ties and four lead changes before Barbour's three-pointer with 3:26 to play put the Lady Flames in front for good. In the end, Liberty was able to improve to 12-1 against Campbell since the Camels rejoined the Big South Conference in 2011-12.
The Lady Flames shot well from both the field (47.6 percent, 20-of-42) and the free throw line (83.3 percent, 15-of-18) on the night. Despite the Camels' proficiency from three-point range, the home team made just 32.2 percent (10-of-31) of its attempts from inside the arc.
In a battle between the Big South's top two rebounding teams, Liberty outrebounded the Camels by 11 boards. The Lady Flames have now won the rebounding battle in 10 straight contests.
Liberty's seven blocked shots give the Lady Flames 32 rejections in the last four outings.
Barbour came up with three of Liberty's eight steals, to go along with her timely second-half scoring.
Crowder, who did not play at all during the first three quarters, made a major impact during the final 10 minutes. The team captain dished out a career-high three assists, grabbed a rebound, came up with a steal and hit the third triple of her career during six minutes down the stretch.
Up Next Liberty will open the second half of its Big South Conference schedule with back-to-back home games at the Vines Center, beginning Saturday at 4 p.m. versus Gardner-Webb (9-11, 4-5 Big South). The Lady Flames will attempt to avenge an 84-82 overtime setback at Gardner-Webb from Jan. 15.
Saturday's game will tip off a basketball doubleheader, as the Liberty men's basketball team is set to host Radford at 7 p.m. in the nightcap.