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Fasnacht's Jumper with 14.9 Seconds Left Lifts Liberty to 10-straight Title

March 11, 2006  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Fasnacht's Jumper with 14.9 Seconds Left Lifts Liberty to 10-straight Title

Liberty's Allyson Fasnacht hit a 13-foot jump shot with 14.9 seconds left to seal the Lady Flames' 53-50 win over High Point in the title game of the 2006 Advance Auto Parts Big South Women's Basketball Championship.

Liberty (25-5) earns the Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, its 10th-straight appearance in the Big Dance. High Point's season ends at 20-10.

Liberty opened the scoring at 19:15 on a lay-up by Karolina Piotrkiewicz and moved ahead 6-0, as the Panthers missed their first five field goal attempts before Candyce Sellars made it 6-2 at 15:25.

Both teams would then struggle from the field for the next four minutes before Liberty moved ahead 11-4 at the 9:58 mark. However, baskets by Katie Ralls, Amber Manuel and Katie O'Dell made it a one-point game at 11-10.

It was 13-12 with 7:46 to play in the first half before Sellars gave High Point its first lead of the game at 7:14 with a jumper to make it 14-13. The game was tied 16-16 at 6:53 before the Panthers reeled off a 14-5 run to close out the first stanza with the 30-21 halftime lead.

Ralls led the first-half scorers with nine points, while Piotrkiewicz had six for Liberty. The Lady Flames were held to 29.2 percent shooting in the first half on 7-of-24 shooting, while High Point was 42.9 percent from the field (12-of-28).

Liberty jumped out of the gates in the second half with a 14-0 run in first 4:16 to regain the lead at 35-30. High Point battled back and tied the game at 39-39 with 9:14 to play on Ayonna Thompson's three-pointer.

It was tied 41-41 with 7:30 remaining before Liberty started to pull away, going up by as much as six and holding onto a two-point lead at 49-47 with 2:52 left. Roli-Ann Nikagbatse, the 2005-06 Big South Defensive Player of the Year, recorded a key steal and lay-up to give the Lady Flames a four-point margin with 2:22 remaining. But Sellars nailed a three-pointer with 2:13 left to cut the score to 51-50. Neither team would convert the next 1:45, until Fasnacht hit the insurance shot for Liberty.

High Point had one last chance to tie, starting its final possession with 15.8 seconds left. However, Thompson's three-point attempt with two seconds left fell short, ending the game and giving Liberty its Big South 10th consecutive tournament title.

Nikagbatse scored 11 points and had eight rebounds for Liberty, while Piotrkiewicz posted 11 points and nine boards. Sellars scored 12 points to lead High Point.

Liberty shot 46.9 percent from the floor in the second half and held High Point to 19.2 percent in the same span.

Fasnacht was named Tournament MVP and was joined on the All-Tournament team with teammate Rachel Hammond, High Point's Katie O'Dell and Leslie Cook and Winthrop's Ashley Fann.

High Point Head Coach Tooey Loy:
"This was a good championship game. We made the early run and they came out strong in the second half. Both teams played very tough tonight. We battled Liberty inside for 40 minutes and it came down to the last minute which is what you want when you're trying to win your first Big South Championship. I am extremely proud of our team. We came out and battled Liberty the entire game. We wanted to walk out of here with a Big South Championship, unfortunately that didn't happen, but our players are still champions in my book. We've had a great season and our players have played hard all season long."

Liberty Head Coach Carey Green:
"It was a tremendous win and great reward for a team that has faced a lot of adversity. It was great to pick up the win."