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Liberty Claims Hokie Hardwood Classic Crown

December 30, 2008  Blacksburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty won the 2008 Hokie Hardwood Classic title Tuesday evening, after recording its first-ever win over Virginia Tech.

Liberty won the 2008 Hokie Hardwood Classic title Tuesday evening, after recording its first-ever win over Virginia Tech.

Tournament MVP Megan Frazee drilled the game-winning shot from just inside the three-point arc with 51 seconds remaining in the Hokie Hardwood Classic championship contest, Tuesday evening at Cassell Coliseum. Her last-minute heroics lifted Liberty to a hard-fought 45-43 win over host Virginia Tech, giving the Lady Flames the tournament title and their first-ever win over the Hokies.

Liberty, which has now won four of its last five games to improve to 5-7 on the year, utilized exceptional play from Frazee and fellow all-tournament team performer Avery Warley to overcome an eight-point second-half deficit. Frazee notched 12 of her game-high 20 points during the second half, while Warley corralled 12 of her career-high 18 boards after the break.

Virginia Tech, now 7-5, saw a few streaks halted after scoring only six points over the final 13:26 of the contest. Prior to Tuesday's game, the Hokies were 14-0 all-time against the Lady Flames and 5-0 in home contests this year. Additionally, Virginia Tech had won its home holiday tournament 10 straight years and had been victorious in 33 straight home games in the month of December.

The Commonwealth foes were deadlocked at 43-43 when Megan Frazee stepped to the foul line for a one-and-one with 1:04 remaining in the contest. The senior uncharacteristically missed the front end, but Warley was there to snatch her 18th rebound. Thirteen seconds later, Rachel McLeod found Frazee for the game-winning hoop.

Virginia Tech's Laura Haskins had two chances to knot the contest in the final 38 seconds, but Liberty hung on for a long-awaited win over the Hokies.

The teams traded the lead 11 times during an evenly-played opening half. Liberty scored on its opening possession, as Rachel Hammond knocked home a three-pointer, but the Lady Flames' 3-0 advantage was the largest lead by either team during the opening 20 minutes of play.

It appeared that Liberty would take a lead into the locker room, after Megan Frazee sank a pair of bank shots in the final minute of the stanza. Her second connection, coming with six seconds remaining, put the Lady Flames in front by a 23-21 margin.

The Hokies' Lindsay Biggs then drilled a three-pointer from well beyond the arc as the first-half buzzer sounded, giving her team a 24-23 halftime edge.

Both squads had the same field goal percentage before the break, as Liberty and Virginia Tech each shot 36.7 percent (11-of-30) from the field. Also, neither team made a first-half free throw. Liberty never got to the charity stripe, while the Hokies went 0-for-2.

Liberty owned a 19-16 rebounding edge, paced by Avery Warley's six boards during the first 20 minutes. Warley was one of two Lady Flames to score eight points prior to the intermission, tying Megan Frazee atop the scoring column.

Biggs led all players with 10 first-half points, including a pair of three-pointers for coach Beth Dunkenberger's squad.

The teams went back-and-forth for the first several minutes of the second half, and Moriah Frazee leveled the score at 29-29 with a jumper at 16:38.

Liberty did not score for the next 6:32, enabling Virginia Tech to reel off an 8-0 surge. Shanel Harrison's steal and fast break layup at the 13:26 mark gave the homestanding Hokies their largest lead of the contest, 37-29.

Virginia Tech then experienced its own extended offensive drought, going 8:16 without a point. In the meantime. Liberty reclaimed the lead with a 10-0 run, the first seven points of which were provided by sisters Megan and Moriah Frazee. Warley's putback hoop with 6:45 left in the contest put the Lady Flames back in front, 39-37.

Liberty's lead was short-lived, however, as Biggs nailed her fourth triple of the evening 1:25 later, giving Virginia Tech a 40-39 advantage.

A McLeod mid-range jumper and two Megan Frazee charity tosses swung the lead back in Liberty's favor, 43-40.

Utahya Drye then converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:28 showing on the second-half clock, knotting the score at 43-all and setting the stage for Frazee's third game-winning shot in her last six appearances, dating back to last season.

Neither team shot the ball well, as Liberty finished at 33.3 percent (19-of-57) from the field nor did Virginia Tech which shot 32.1 percent (18-of-56). Aided by Warley's glass work, the Lady Flames outrebounded the Hokies, 46-30.

Frazee pulled down seven rebounds to go along with her 20 points. Meanwhile, Warley came up with her first career double-double, ending up with 11 points, 18 boards and three blocked shots. The redshirt freshman finished the two-game tournament with 29 rebounds, falling just two shy of the tournament record.

Seniors Moriah Frazee and Hammond chipped in five points each, while Frazee pulled down six rebounds. Hammond became the 49th player in program history to score 500 points, as the Florida native has totaled 504 career markers.

Biggs led the Hokies in both points (16) and rebounds (6), while Drye joined her in double figures with 12 points. Haskins paced all players with four assists, and Harrison rejected four Liberty shot attempts.
Liberty will open the calendar year 2009 with its first Big South Conference game of the season, a Saturday evening contest against new conference member Gardner-Webb (6-5). The contest, scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Vines Center, will be the first-ever Big South game for the Bulldogs, under the direction of former Liberty head coach Rick Reeves.

Hokie Hardwood Classic All-Tournament Team
Megan Frazee (Liberty) – MVP
Avery Warley (Liberty)

Lindsay Biggs (Virginia Tech)
Utahya Drye (Virginia Tech)
Amber Bland (North Carolina A&T)
Cristin Zavocki (Lafayette)

Team Champion: Liberty