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Liberty Limits Longwood in 71-38 Victory

February 21, 2017  Farmville, Va.  RSS
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Kierra Johnson-Graham contributed nine points and eight rebounds to Liberty's 71-38 triumph at Longwood on Tuesday.
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Liberty set the tone for a strong defensive effort, keeping Longwood scoreless for the first 9:21 of Tuesday night's matchup at Willett Hall. The Lady Flames went on to post a 71-38 victory, equaling the fewest points they have allowed this season.

Liberty limited the Lancers to 30.8 percent (16-of-52) from the field and 11.1 percent (2-of-18) from three-point range. Meanwhile, Iva Ilic (12 points) paced four Lady Flames who scored between nine and 12 points on the night.

With its third road victory of the season, Liberty improves to 11-15 overall and 10-5 in the Big South. The Lady Flames, who have now won 10+ Big South games for 18 straight seasons, remain in a third-place tie with High Point in the conference standings.

Liberty shot well from both the field (49.1 percent, 26-of-53) and the foul line (92.9 percent, 13-of-14). The Lady Flames also enjoyed a +30 (48-18) rebound margin and accumulated 21 second-chance points.

Longwood falls to 4-22 overall and 1-14 in Big South play with its third straight setback. The Lancers, who got 13 points from Ciarah Bennett and 10 more from Eboni Gilliam, have now lost 17 consecutive meetings with the Lady Flames.

Liberty scored the game's first nine points, as Longwood missed its first 12 field goal attempts of the evening. The Lancers then tallied five quick points to end the quarter, trimming their deficit to 9-5 after 10 minutes of play. Ola Makurat led all scorers with five first-quarter points, while the two teams combined to shoot 20.7 percent (6-of-29) with 15 turnovers during the period.

The navy blue-clad Lady Flames opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run, pushing their advantage to 17-5 on Makurat's hoop at the 8:06 mark. Liberty's lead remained in double digits for the remainder of the half, and Tatyana Crowder's four points within the final 1:35 gave the visitors a 26-11 halftime edge.

Liberty overcame 16 first-half turnovers by shooting 41.7 percent (10-of-24) from the field, outrebounding Longwood by a 26-12 count and tallying 13 second-chance points.

The Lancers shot just 19.2 percent (5-of-26) from the floor, 0 percent (0-of-8) from three-point range and 25 percent (1-of-4) from the foul line prior to the intermission. Longwood's 11 first-half points were the fewest the Lady Flames have allowed in any half this season.

Liberty scored nearly as many points (25) during the third quarter as they had during the first half (26), including 10 by Ilic and seven by Keyen Green. Ilic's triple at the end of the quarter gave the Lady Flames a 51-23 advantage. Bennett tallied eight of Longwood's 12 points during the period.

The Lady Flames fashioned a 17-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters. The spurt ended on Nene Johnson's three-pointer with 7:13 remaining. Liberty's sixth and final triple of the game gave the Lady Flames their largest lead of the contest, 61-23.

Jada Russell scored all eight of her points during the fourth quarter for Longwood, helping the Lancers trim the final margin to 33 points, 71-38.

After its sluggish start at the offensive end, Liberty notched 45 points in the second half on 55.2 percent (16-of-29) from the floor and 100 percent (10-of-10) from the charity stripe.

Johnson scored 10 points, joining backcourt mate Ilic in double figures for the Lady Flames. Meanwhile, freshmen Makurat (9 points, game-high 10 rebounds) and Kierra Johnson-Graham (9 points, 8 rebounds) each flirted with double-doubles.

Eleven different Lady Flames scored points on the night, 11 grabbed a rebound and nine dished out at least one assist.

The biggest negative on Liberty's side of the stat sheet were the Lady Flames' 25 turnovers. However, they also forced 19 miscues by Longwood, which led to 21 points.

Up Next
Liberty will travel to Winthrop (2-25, 1-14 Big South) on Saturday for the Lady Flames' final road game of the regular season. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum. Liberty won its first meeting with Winthrop this season, 80-51, Jan. 28 at the Vines Center.