After watching their male counterparts score 96 points in the opening game of Saturday afternoon's doubleheader, the Liberty women's basketball team continued the offensive showcase at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames eclipsed the 100-point mark for the first time in six seasons with a 105-43 romp over Shippensburg.
Liberty had not scored more than 68 points in a game all season before shooting a season-best 57.7 percent (41-of-71) against the Raiders, including 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from three-point range. The Lady Flames' offensive output was their highest since a 116-65 home victory over Glenville State on Dec. 10, 2011.
Now 3-0 at the Vines Center this season, Liberty improves to 4-5 overall. The post duo of Molly Reagan (career-high 18 points, 8-9 FG) and Ola Makurat, who fashioned her second career double-double with season highs in points (18) and rebounds (10) paced the Lady Flames. They were part of a 69-point explosion by the Liberty bench.
Shippensburg, which classified the game as an exhibition, remains at 1-9. The 2017 NCAA Division II Tournament qualifiers got 13 points from Ariel Jones, the nation's top-scoring freshman at 22.1 ppg. Liberty limited the Raiders to 32.6 percent (14-of-43) from the floor and has now held its last four opponents to an average of 44.8 ppg.
Liberty fired on all cylinders from the get-go, shooting 58.8 percent (10-of-17) during a season-best 28-point first quarter. The Lady Flames also converted nine Shippensburg turnovers into 14 points in the first 10 minutes.
Makurat scored seven points in 48 seconds during a 15-1 Lady Flames run midway through the quarter which broke things open. By the end of the stanza, Liberty's lead had ballooned to 20 points (28-8).
After shooting 1-of-26 from the three-point line during its previous two games, Liberty connected on its first four attempts from beyond the arc to open Saturday's contest. However, it was a traditional three-point play by Sheana Vega which gave the Lady Flames their largest lead of the opening 20 minutes (50-17), just 24 seconds before the intermission.
Liberty owned a 50-19 halftime advantage after its highest-scoring half of the year to date. The Lady Flames shot 55.9 percent (19-of-34) before the break, aided by 28 points in the paint and 21 tallies off Shippensburg miscues.
Reagan scored three straight hoops for the Lady Flames in the third quarter, including a layup with 2:34 to play, pushing Liberty past its previous season high of 68 points. At the end of three, the Lady Flames' lead stood at 76-34.
There it is! Our first 100-point game in 6 years, with Molly's new career high up to 18 points! pic.twitter.com/srgmdQEphF — Liberty WBasketball (@LibertyWBB) December 16, 2017
There it is! Our first 100-point game in 6 years, with Molly's new career high up to 18 points! pic.twitter.com/srgmdQEphF
Reagan excited the crowd of 1,382 when she put Liberty over the century mark on a layup with 1:42 remaining. The Lady Flames ended up with their largest margin of victory (62 points) since a 100-29 triumph over Virginia Union on Nov. 30, 2007.
Liberty, which scored 22 or more points in each of the four quarters, tallied 60 points in the paint, turned Shippensburg's 23 turnovers into 35 points and scored 30 second-chance points off of 18 offensive boards.
The Lady Flames more than doubled up the Raiders on the glass, 46-22, while committing a season-low 10 turnovers.
Nene Johnson (season-high 11 points) and Kierra Johnson-Graham (10 points) also scored in double figures for the Lady Flames, who saw seven players finish with eight points or more.
Up Next Liberty will play its next two games at the UMKC Roo Holiday Classic, Tuesday and Wednesday at the Swinney Recreation Center in Kansas City, Mo. The Lady Flames will face Denver Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern and square off with Northern Colorado Wednesday at 2 p.m. Eastern.
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