LaKendra Washington scored a career-high 21 points during Liberty's 90-55 win at Lafayette.
Freshman LaKendra Washington's career-high 21 points paced four Liberty players in double figures, Saturday afternoon at Lafayette, helping the Lady Flames record an impressive 90-55 road victory over the Leopards. Liberty shot a season-high 61.7 percent (37-for-60), as the Lady Flames improved to 5-0 for the third time in program history. Despite Lauren Jackson's career-high and game-high 22 points, Lafayette falls to 1-5 on the year. The Leopards, who committed 24 turnovers, have dropped four straight contests. Second-chance hoops by Amber Mays and Avery Warley initiated a game-opening 6-0 run by the Lady Flames. Lafayette quickly cut its deficit to 6-4 at 17:04, after notching its first two baskets of the afternoon within a 21-second span. However, that was as close as the Leopards got for the remainder of the opening half. Another 6-0 burst by red-clad Liberty, culminating with a Warley layup at the 14:47 mark, pushed the visitors' advantage back to 12-4. Lafayette pulled to within three points, 6:12 before halftime, when Jackson nailed the first three-pointer of the contest by either team. Her long-distance connection trimmed Liberty's advantage to 23-20. The Leopards still trailed by three, 29-26, before the Lady Flames put together their best run of the opening 20 minutes. Liberty outscored Lafayette, 13-2, for the remainder of the half, aided by six Washington tallies. As a result, the Lady Flames took a 42-28 advantage into the locker room. Both teams shot the ball well from the floor before halftime, as Liberty connected on 58.1 percent (18-of-31) of its field goal tries and Lafayette shot 52.9 percent (9-of-17). Three statistics were key to the Lady Flames' first-half success. Liberty outrebounded its host, 15-7, and turned 11 Leopard turnovers into 13 points. The Lady Flames also used their significant size advantage to score 30 points in the paint to Lafayette's 10. Washington paced the Lady Flames' balanced scoring attack with 12 first-half markers and added a pair of steals. Devon Brown contributed nine points and the Lady Flames' only triple prior to the intermission. Warley added eight points and a team-high five rebounds. Two Leopards, Jackson and LaKeisha Wright, scored 10 points apiece during the first 20 minutes of play. Lafayette drained three of its first four field goals to start the second half, trimming Liberty's lead to 45-35 on Amanda Smith's mid-range jumper at 17:05. The Leopards did not make another field goal until the 8:19 mark, when Jackson hit a jump shot from the right corner. During that time, Liberty put the game away with a 19-2 surge. Brown totaled eight points during the extended run, including a layup at 11:34 which made the score 64-37, Lady Flames. Lafayette got no closer than 17 the rest of the game, and Liberty remained unbeaten with a 90-55 triumph in its first-ever meeting with the Leopards. The Lady Flames reached the 90-point mark for the first time since Dec. 13, 2008, when Liberty defeated St. Paul's, 92-68, at the Vines Center. Liberty tallied 64 points in the paint and scored 38 points off Lafayette turnovers. The Lady Flames recorded 10 of their 14 steals after halftime and finished the contest with a 33-20 rebounding edge. Washington, who had totaled 19 points in her first four collegiate games, exploded for 21 on Saturday. She also tied Mays for the game high with four steals. Warley also set a new career high for the Lady Flames versus the Leopards, with 19 points. She also completed her first double-double of the season with 11 rebounds, eight of which came at the offensive end. Joining Washington and Warley in double digits were Devon Brown (17 points) and Mays (11 points). Both Brown and Mays dished out four assists to lead the Lady Flames. Wright ended up with 14 points for the Leopards, while Alexandra Serowoky pulled down a team-leading five boards. Liberty will now return to the Vines Center for a quick, two-game homestand. The Lady Flames will host undefeated James Madison Tuesday evening at 7 p.m., in a battle between Commonwealth foes.