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Brown Leads Liberty Back to Big South WBB Final
|Devon Brown's 25 points and 14 rebounds led Liberty to a 70-56 victory over Campbell.|
Redshirt senior Devon Brown's 25 points and career high-tying 14 rebounds led No. 1 seed Liberty to a 70-56 victory over No. 5 seed Campbell in Saturday evening's VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Women's Basketball Championship semifinal contest. The win puts the Lady Flames into their sixth consecutive championship game.
Brown tallied 18 of her points and eight of her rebounds during the second half, helping the Lady Flames improve to 26-6 with their 13th straight victory. Liberty will attempt to win its 15th Big South Championship title in the last 17 seasons Sunday at 5 p.m. against No. 7 seed Longwood. The game will be broadcasted live on ESPN3.
Campbell's season ends at 20-9 despite an 18-point, five-assist, four-rebound, three-assist night by Tonisha Baker.
Campbell made six of its first seven shot attempts, as the Lady Camels raced out to a 14-3 lead to start the game. Baker scored eight of those points, before a finger roll by Monique Spry capped off the surge at 16:11.
After its hot start, the Camels missed 13 straight field goals. During that drought, Liberty reeled off an 18-0 run. Jasmine Gardner's layup at the 8:04 mark gave the Lady Flames a 25-16 advantage.
However, Liberty went more than eight minutes before scoring its next point. Spry hit two triples during that time, including one from the right wing that finished off a 9-0 surge and knotted the score at 25-25, 48 seconds before halftime.
The Lady Flames took a 27-25 edge into the intermission, after Tolu Omotola drilled a right-handed layup just before the buzzer.
Liberty shot 39.3 percent (11-of-28) in the first half, as compared with 35.7 percent (10-of-28) for the Camels. The Lady Flames controlled the rebound (22-13) and points in the paint (16-8) categories.
Brown topped Liberty in both points (7) and rebounds (6) during the first 20 minutes, while fellow first team All-Big South member Baker led Campbell in both categories, with 10 points and four boards.
RaeChaun Edwards tied the score at 27 apiece with a floater on Campbell's first possession of the second half. Brittany Campbell countered with her second triple of the night, giving the Lady Flames a 30-27 edge with 17:57 left.
Liberty remained in front as Brown scored 12 points during the first nine minutes of the half. Her pull-up jumper with 11:11 to play lifted the Lady Flames to a 45-38 advantage.
The Lady Flames' lead reached nine points twice, including at the 4:21 mark when Omotola's layup made it 58-49.
Ashley James scored four straight points for the Camels, who trimmed the deficit to five on two occasions. Kiera Gaines' layup at 2:33 made it a two-possession game at 60-55.
Brown broke the Campbell press and found Rininger for a layup 15 seconds later, halting the Camels' momentum.
Campbell misfired on its last four field goal attempts, while Liberty went eight-for-eight from the foul line during the final 1:12 to close out its 13th consecutive win away from the Vines Center.
The Lady Flames shot 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from the field during the second half, finishing the game at 48.1 percent (25-of-52). They also hit 13 of their 15 free throws after halftime, ending up at 83.3 percent (15-of-18) on the night.
Liberty held its 27th straight opponent below 50 percent field goal shooting, as Campbell hit 40.4 percent (21-of-52) of its field goals.
The Lady Flames won the rebound battle (39-22) and points in the paint categories (38-22) by nearly identical margins.
Brown's double-double was her third of the season, and she moved to within 25 points of 2,000 for her career.
Campbell and Omotola posted 11 points apiece to complement Brown's output, with Campbell connecting on three of the Lady Flames' five triples on the night. Liberty is now 8-0 this season when Campbell reaches double figures and 21-2 when Omotola scores 10 points or more.
The Camels had a pair of 11-point scorers as well, in Spry and Gaines.
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green
"When you get into tournament play, you'd better be ready to play. This was no different. This showed the parity in the league. You've got to come ready to play. We had some great senior leadership and our bench really helped us out. Having a good start to the second half really helped us out. That's what separated us in this game. These seniors are determined to get a championship and get to the Big Dance.
"It was a difficult time (lost father this past week). I missed this team here too, but I had my priorities in order and my coaches were prepared to take care of business here (while I was gone). I hugged each one of these players when I got back."
Campbell Head Coach Wanda Watkins
"Certainly this is not the outcome that we had hoped for tonight. The effort was there and hopefully we earned some respect here in the Big South. I liked to see that we got off to a fast start because that was a question for us going in. Would we have anything left after the last game? But, our kids came to play tonight.
"They (Liberty) are just so big and so strong, I thought that late in the game, Tolu Omotola was effective inside. And Devon Brown just took control of the game."