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Fast Start, Defense Lead Liberty to Win No. 20

February 27, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty jumped out to a 30-6 first-quarter lead during Tuesday evening's matchup with Longwood at the Vines Center. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames kept the Lancers from scoring their 30th point until midway through the fourth quarter as Liberty posted win No. 20 by a 73-36 count.

The Lady Flames (20-9, 15-2 Big South) have now recorded 19 20-win seasons in the last 22 years. Tuesday's victory also wrapped up at least a share of Liberty's 16th Big South regular-season title and first since the 2014-15 season.

Liberty improved to 11-0 at home with its 19th straight win over Longwood thanks to a team effort. Eleven Lady Flames scored points with five (KK Barbour – 12, Lela Sellers – 12, Ola Makurat – 11, Ashtyn Baker – 10 and Keyen Green – 10) reaching double figures in the same game for the first time this season. Liberty also finished with twice as many assists (20) as turnovers (10).

Meanwhile, Longwood drops to 6-22 overall and 4-13 in conference play. The Lancers, who are now 1-14 away from Farmville this season, shot 26.4 percent (14-of-53) and missed all 11 of their three-point attempts.

All five Liberty starters scored as the Lady Flames raced out to a 13-0 advantage over the first 3:09. The Lady Flames kept the pressure on and built their lead to 30-6 by the end of the opening quarter. Fifteen of Liberty's first-quarter points came off of Longwood's seven turnovers, and the Lady Flames shot 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from the field during the stanza.

Hoops by Longwood's Micaela Ellis and Casey Ripp opened the second-quarter scoring. Meanwhile, the Lancers limited the Lady Flames to one made field goal over the period's first 7:41, pulling to within 34-16 on Stephanie Guihon's free throw at 2:40.

Back-to-back Baker three-pointers then kick-started Liberty's 10-1 half-closing run. For the second straight game, the Lady Flames took a 45-18 lead into halftime.

Liberty shot 55.2 percent (16-of-29) from the field during the first 20 minutes, scoring 18 points in the paint and 20 points off Longwood turnovers. The Lancers made only 29.2 percent (7-of-24) of their first-half field goals and committed a dozen turnovers.

For the second quarter in a row, Longwood scored four quick points to begin the third period, getting layups from Autumn Childress and Kristina Antonenko. But the Lancers missed their final 13 field goal attempts of the quarter as Liberty closed the stanza with a 16-2 run. Barbour scored five points during the period, including the 500th of her career, as Liberty took a 61-24 advantage into the final 10 minutes of play.

The Lady Flames' lead got as large as 39 in the fourth quarter before Liberty closed out a 73-36 triumph. Liberty has now posted back-to-back 30-point wins for the first time since Dec. 8 & 13, 2012 versus UNCW and Bluefield State. The Lady Flames have also held 13 straight opponents below the 60-point mark.

Liberty finished at 47.4 percent (27-of-57) from the field and connected on seven triples. The Lady Flames also shot 85.7 percent (12-of-14) at the foul line, including a 7-of-8 effort by Sellers, who entered the game as a 36.8 percent free throw shooter for the season.

Liberty outrebounded the Lancers, 43-28, turning 13 offensive boards into 14 second-chance points. The Lady Flames also tallied 34 points in the paint.

Barbour added six rebounds and a team-high four assists to her dozen points, while Makurat's eight boards led all players.

Baker, who won her fifth Big South Freshman of the Week award on Monday, needed only 16 minutes to reach double figures for the fourth straight game. She made 4-of-5 field goal attempts and is now 18-for-20 over her last three-plus outings.

Freshmen Guihon and Mallory Odell topped Longwood with eight points apiece, while classmate Que King grabbed a team-leading seven boards. Childress, the only Big South player averaging a double-double this season, was held to two points and four rebounds in 26 minutes.

Up Next
Liberty will close out the regular season on Saturday, welcoming High Point (16-12, 10-7 Big South) to the Vines Center for a 2 p.m. start. Seniors Nene Johnson and Sheana Vega will be honored prior to tipoff of their final regular-season home game.

The Lady Flames will attempt to complete a season sweep of the Panthers, after recording a 65-42 victory at High Point on Jan. 30.