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Liberty Wraps Up 5-0 Homestand with 82-40 Win

January 18, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Another strong defensive effort and balanced scoring helped Liberty complete a 5-0 homestand, Monday evening at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames came up with four steals and put four players in double figures during their 82-40 Big South win over UNC Asheville.

Liberty is now 12-4 overall and 3-1 in Big South play, after winning its 17th straight conference home game. The Lady Flames held the Bulldogs to 27.5 percent (14-of-51) shooting from the floor, marking the 100th consecutive game Liberty has kept its opponent from making 50 percent of its field goals.

The Bulldogs, who lost their fifth consecutive game, fall to 5-13 overall and 1-5 in conference action.

The two teams matched each other point for point until Amber Mays scored seven markers during a 9-1 Liberty surge. Her third triple of the season, which came at the 12:54 mark, put the Lady Flames in front by a 14-6 count.

After Kendall Shepard drilled a perimeter jumper on UNC Asheville's next trip to the offensive end, the Lady Flames' defense sparked an 8-0 burst. The run featured two Liberty blocks and a steal, including a Devon Brown rejection that the redshirt freshman converted into a fast break layup at 10:51. Her two points boosted the Lady Flames' advantage to 22-8.

The Bulldogs cut into Liberty's lead with an ensuing 7-2 run. Shepard's steal and layup, 7:35 before intermission, pulled UNC Asheville to within nine points, at 24-15.

However, the Bulldogs managed only two more points for the remainder of the half, as Liberty closed the stanza on a 17-2 run. The Lady Flames capped the surge with back-to-back three-pointers by Rachel McLeod and Brown. Brown's trifecta swished through the net as the halftime buzzer sounded, giving Liberty a 41-17 halftime lead.

Liberty shot 44.1 percent (15-of-34) from the field during the opening 20 minutes and made four triples. Meanwhile, UNC Asheville was limited to 25.0 percent (7-of-28) shooting.

The Lady Flames outrebounded the Bulldogs, 27-16, in the first half. Liberty's 13 offensive boards led to 14 second-chance points.

Liberty also totaled eight steals before the break, turning them into 17 points off turnovers.

Mays led the Lady Flames' balanced scoring effort with nine points. Brown added eight points and a half-high six caroms, while McLeod chipped in seven points and a trio of steals.

Shepard and Lindsey Thompson finished with six points apiece for the blue-clad visitors, while Shepard added three steals. Lindsey Montgomery, the Big South's leading rebounder, corralled five boards to pace the Bulldogs.

After Montgomery opened the second-half scoring with a pair of made free throws, Liberty countered with seven consecutive points. Mays accounted for the final five points of the Lady Flames' run, including two charity tosses which increased Liberty's edge to 48-19, 1:50 into the period.

Montgomery and Kiana Rainey made jumpers on UNC Asheville's next two possessions, but the Bulldogs did not sink another field goal for 6:48. During that time, the Lady Flames increased their lead to 39 points with a 13-1 run. Liberty's last nine points of the surge came courtesy of three-pointers, including LaKendra Washington's triple to beat the shot clock with 10:43 left. The freshman's long-distance connection made it 63-24, Lady Flames.

Liberty's lead ballooned to as many as 46 points, before the Lady Flames wrapped up a perfect 5-0 homestand with an 82-40 triumph.

Liberty shot 46 percent (29-of-63) from the floor on the evening, highlighted by a 52.9 percent mark (9-of-17) from beyond the three-point arc. The Lady Flames' nine made three-pointers were a season high and the most by a Liberty squad since Feb. 18, 2008. That evening, the Lady Flames canned 10 triples in a home win over Charleston Southern.

Head coach Carey Green's squad enjoyed another strong contest on the boards, rebounding its opponent for the 14th time in 15 games this season. Liberty's final rebound margin was 49-27, with 24 boards coming on the offensive end.

The Lady Flames also ended the contest with sizable advantages in the points in the paint (38-12), points off turnovers (33-12) and second-chance points (23-11) categories.

Three Liberty starters scored in double digits, but the reserves also made a significant contribution to Monday's victory. The Lady Flames' bench performers tallied 33 points and 11 steals.

Mays and Kylee Beecher shared high scoring honors for Liberty, with 14 points apiece. Beecher's offensive output, which included eight free throws, equaled her season high.

Brown (12 points, eight rebounds) and McLeod (10 points, four steals) joined them in double figures.

McLeod, who tied her career high for steals, was one of three Lady Flames to tally a quartet of thefts. Backup guards Washington and Dymond Morgan also accomplished the feat, with Morgan adding a game-high six assists.

Avery Warley paced Liberty with 10 rebounds and also blocked a season-best three UNC Asheville shots.

Montgomery ended up as UNC Asheville's leader in both points (10) and rebounds (8), narrowly missing her seventh double-double of the season. Shepard filled the stat sheet, tallying nine points, four assists and a game-high five rebounds.

Liberty will now take to the road for its next four contests, beginning with its annual South Carolina "Beach Trip." The Lady Flames will play at Charleston Southern Saturday, with tipoff scheduled for 5 p.m. at CSU Field House.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will play their final non-conference game of the season, when they return home for a Friday contest against North Carolina Central. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at the Justice Center.