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Liberty Holds Off Campbell in Regular-Season Finale

February 28, 2015  Buies Creek, N.C.  RSS
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Ashley Rininger finished with 10 points and nine rebounds at Campbell on Saturday. (Photo by Will Bratton/Campbell University)

Ashley Rininger finished with 10 points and nine rebounds at Campbell on Saturday. (Photo by Will Bratton/Campbell University)

Liberty broke open a back-and-forth game with an 18-0 run, spanning both halves, Saturday afternoon at Campbell. The Lady Flames then withstood a furious comeback by the Lady Camels for a 64-57 triumph at Gore Arena in both teams' regular-season finale.

Liberty led by 16 points (43-27) with 15:24 remaining at the end of its 18-0 surge. But Campbell countered with an 18-3 run over the next nine minutes, cutting its deficit to a single point (46-45) at the 6:24 mark. Karly Buer then nailed her fourth triple of the afternoon on the Lady Flames' ensuing possession and Liberty stayed on top the rest of the way, becoming the first visiting Big South team to win at Campbell this season.

Paced by Buer (19 points, season-high four three-pointers), Sadalia Ellis (career-high 18 points, four steals) and Ashley Rininger (10 points, nine rebounds), Liberty wraps up the regular season at 23-6 overall and 19-1 in Big South play. The Lady Flames' fifth straight road triumph and 11th consecutive victory overall enabled Liberty to add to its Big South record for single-season conference victories.

Despite 15 points and five steals by RaeChaun Edwards, Campbell closes the regular season at 18-11 overall and 13-7 in the Big South. The Lady Camels saw their nine-game home winning streak halted and end the year with a 13-2 mark in Buies Creek.

Amanda Coffer scored seven early points for the Lady Camels, helping Campbell open up a 13-8 lead at the 12:25 mark.

That was the largest advantage for either team during a back-and-forth period which saw five ties and eight lead changes.

Buer's second three-pointer of the first half swished through the net 2:13 before halftime, giving the Lady Flames a 28-27 lead, which they carried into halftime.

Liberty shot 40.7 percent (11-of-27) from the field before halftime, including 57.1 percent (4-of-7) from three-point range. Campbell connected at a 37.5 percent clip from both the floor (9-of-24) and beyond the arc (3-of-8).

The Lady Flames outrebounded their hosts during the first 20 minutes, 18-14, aided by Rininger's six points and six boards. Buer matched Campbell's Edwards as the first half's leading scorers, with eight points apiece.

Buer picked up where she left off at the end of the first half, hitting a three-pointer from the corner to start the second-half scoring. The Lady Flames reeled off the first 15 points after halftime, extending their overall run to 18-0. Jasmine Gardner made two free throws with 15:24 to play which put Liberty on top, 43-27.

Summer Leverette got Campbell's aforementioned 18-3 run started with five quick points. Summer Price later split a pair of free throws with 6:24 to play, pulling her team to within 46-45.

Speaking of the foul line, Liberty closed out the victory by making 11 of its 13 charity tosses during the final 2:57. Ellis was 7-of-8 over that span. As a result, Liberty closed out an 8-0 month of February and improved to 111-10 during the month under head coach Carey Green.

For the game, the Lady Flames ended up at 42.6 percent (20-of-47) from the floor, 50 percent (6-of-12) from three-point range and 85.7 percent (18-of-21) from the line.

Campbell shot 37.8 percent (17-of-45) from the field, made 31.3 percent (5-of-16) of its triples and matched the Lady Flames' 85.7 percent (18-of-21) from the free throw line.

Liberty finished with a 34-25 advantage on the boards, outrebounding its 18th consecutive opponent.

Buer's game-high 19 points were her most since a 24-point outing at Coastal Carolina on Jan. 8. She connected on 4-of-5 from behind the arc, setting a season high for three-pointers made during her 100th collegiate start.

Ellis tallied 13 of her 18 points during the second half, including nine during the final 3:41. She eclipsed her previous career high of 17 points in the process.

Rininger just missed a double-double with her 10 points and game-high nine rebounds. She also blocked a shot, tying Jennifer Fairfax for fourth place on Liberty's career list with 131 rejections.

Emily Frazier dished out a game-high six assists, boosting her career total to 403. She is the first Lady Flame to eclipse the 400-assist mark since Daina Staugaitiene in 2005.

On Campbell's Senior Day, senior standout Kiera Gaines complemented Edwards' effort with 10 points and five boards for the Lady Camels.

With the regular season now complete, Liberty will turn its attention to the 2015 Big South Women's Basketball Championship at The HTC Center in Conway, S.C. The Lady Flames will enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed and begin play in the quarterfinal round, Thursday at noon. The tournament bracket will be announced later this evening.