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Three-Point Barrage Leads Villanova Past Liberty

March 17, 2016  Villanova, Pa.  RSS
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Catherine Kearney closed out her career with a 10-point outing during the Lady Flames' 67-51 loss at Villanova on Thursday.

Catherine Kearney closed out her career with a 10-point outing during the Lady Flames' 67-51 loss at Villanova on Thursday.

Megan Quinn scored 21 points and hit five of Villanova's 13 three-pointers, leading the Wildcats past Liberty, 67-51, in Thursday's WNIT first-round clash at The Pavilion.

Ashley Rininger (13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists), Candice Leatherwood (10 points, 5 rebounds) and Catherine Kearney (10 points) all reached double figures for the Lady Flames, who were within five points (51-46) entering the fourth quarter. But Villanova held Liberty to one made field goal during the final 10 minutes, pulling away for a 16-point victory.

The Wildcats (20-11), who also got 11 points and six assists from Adrianna Hahn, advance to the second round of the WNIT. Villanova will host Hofstra Saturday at 6 p.m. at The Pavilion.

Liberty, which is now 0-2 all-time in the WNIT, sees its ninth consecutive 20-win season end at 20-13. The Lady Flames were outscored 25-7 in points off turnovers and 21-6 in second-chance points.

Both teams shot the ball well during a first quarter which featured eight lead changes. Liberty made 61.5 percent (8-of-13) of its field goals during the quarter, while Villanova connected on seven triples. Rininger scored nine points during the game's first 4:44 for the Lady Flames. However, the Wildcats closed the period with three consecutive three-pointers, taking a 23-18 advantage through 10 minutes of play.

Villanova also scored the first five points of the second quarter, extending its overall run to 14-0. Jordan Dillard's perimeter jumper at the 8:31 mark gave the home team a 28-18 lead. The Wildcats later took their largest lead of the opening half (42-30) before Leatherwood's three-point play closed the first-half scoring with Villanova on top, 42-33.

Leatherwood scored seven of her team-high 10 first-half points during the second quarter, as the Lady Flames shot 53.8 percent (14-of-26) for the half. Villanova made eight triples during the first 20 minutes while racking up 19 second-chance points and 15 points off of Liberty's eight turnovers.

Liberty limited Villanova to 23.1 percent (3-of-13) shooting during the third quarter, with all three field goals being triples. The Lady Flames were able to get as close as 48-44 on a Jaymee Fisher-Davis layup at 3:57 before trailing 51-46 at the end of the quarter.

Katelyn Adams accounted for Liberty's lone fourth-quarter field goal, hitting a layup with 28 seconds remaining in the game. Prior to that, the Wildcats had sealed their victory with a 12-0 run that featured two Kavunaa Edwards three-pointers.

Liberty finished the game with a better field goal percentage (44.7 percent, 21-of-47) and three-point field goal percentage (36.4 percent, 4-of-11) than Villanova. The Wildcats countered at 40.3 percent (25-of-62) from the field and 36.1 percent (13-of-36) from beyond the arc.

The rapidly played game featured only 13 total free throw attempts and zero called timeouts.

Liberty outrebounded its 20th straight opponent, 34-33, but the Wildcats grabbed 15 offensive boards.

The nation's leader for fewest turnovers per game, Villanova committed just seven miscues to Liberty's 18.

Rininger led the Lady Flames in points, rebounds and assists during the final game of her career, tying her career high for assists. She overtook Megan Frazee for fourth place on Liberty's all-time rebounding chart on Thursday, finishing with 952 career boards.

Kearney scored her 10 points in front of a large contingent of family and friends, playing her final collegiate game approximately 45 minutes from her hometown of Monroeville, N.J.

Leatherwood made both of her three-point attempts while playing a team-high 35 minutes, following her program-record 49-minute outing during Sunday's Big South Championship title game.

Adams' final game featured eight points and four rebounds, giving her exactly 800 career points and 861 career rebounds. The Minnesota native climbed into seventh place on Liberty's rebounds list on Thursday.

Fisher-Davis hit her 131st career three-pointer as part of a five-point evening, while Liberty's fifth and final senior, Sadalia Ellis, played five scoreless minutes, following her concussion during Sunday's Big South title game.

Collectively, Liberty's seniors (Adams, Ellis, Fisher-Davis, Kearney and Rininger) finished with 4,260 career points and 2,829 career rebounds, while leading the Lady Flames to 117 victories over the last five seasons.