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Liberty Defense Shines in 65-42 Victory at High Point

January 30, 2018  High Point, N.C.  RSS
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Nene Johnson matched her season high of 11 points during Tuesday's 65-42 victory at High Point.

Nene Johnson matched her season high of 11 points during Tuesday's 65-42 victory at High Point.

In a Tuesday evening battle between Big South co-leaders at the Millis Center, Liberty limited conference scoring leader High Point to a season-low 42 points and 0-of-16 three-point shooting. Keyen Green (19 points, 14 rebounds) led the way at the offensive end as the Lady Flames claimed sole possession of first place with a 65-42 triumph.

The Lady Flames' (13-8, 8-1 Big South) 700th win in program history and fourth win in a row utilized a familiar formula of defense and strong post play. High Point shot just 31.1 percent (14-of-45), while Green keyed Liberty's dominance in rebounding (35-26), points in the paint (36-14) and second-chance points (14-3).

Nene Johnson tied her season high with 11 points as she sank a career-best three triples, while Tatyana Crowder chipped in a career-high 10 points. One day after her 19th birthday, Ashtyn Baker distributed a career-best seven assists.

High Point falls to 13-7 overall and 7-2 in the Big South with its second loss in three games. Jiselle Thomas tallied a team-high 12 points, but the Panthers' three leading scorers on the season (Emma Bockrath, Kat Harris and Camryn Brown) managed only 10 total points on a combined 2-of-21 from the field.

Liberty held the high-powered High Point offense from the get-go, limiting the Panthers to 20 percent (2-of-10) from the field and forcing six turnovers in the first quarter. Crowder scored six first-quarter points for the Lady Flames, who led by as many as seven before taking a 13-7 advantage through 10 minutes of play.

Shea Morgan tallied eight points for High Point during the second period, but Green answered with nine points for the Lady Flames and teammate Johnson hit a pair of triples. Liberty, which shot 60 percent (9-of-15) for the period, closed the half with an 8-0 run, punctuated by back-to-back Melis Ucar hoops. As a result, the Lady Flames took a 36-19 advantage into the intermission.

Liberty scored 18 points in the paint to High Point's four, paced by Green's 13 first-half points. The Lady Flames also forced nine Panther turnovers and held High Point to 0-of-8 shooting from three-point range in the opening half.

Liberty's lead reached 20 points (43-23) on Green's putback of a missed free throw with 8:36 remaining in the third quarter. The Lady Flames did not score again for the next 5:02, but High Point only managed four points of its own during that span of time.

Liberty then held the Panthers scoreless for the final 6:53 of the period, going on a 7-0 surge during that time. Ola Makurat tallied the final five points of the run, boosting the Lady Flames' edge to 50-27 heading to the fourth quarter.

High Point went a total of 13:02 between made field goals before Thomas ended the drought with a layup at 3:52 of the fourth quarter. Just 21 seconds earlier, KK Barbour's layup had given Liberty its largest lead of the game at 62-32.

The Lady Flames' final 23-point margin of victory marked their largest road win over High Point since a 72-49 win on Feb. 5, 2005. It was also the Panthers' most lopsided setback since a 77-50 loss at No. 11 Duke on Nov. 16.

Liberty improved to 700-494 in its 43 seasons of women's basketball.

The Lady Flames shot 51.9 percent (28-of-54) from the field, with 10 different players found the scoring column.

Green's 14 rebounds marked a season high, while the double-double was her third of the season and 12th of the season. The sophomore is now averaging 22.3 ppg and 11.0 rpg in three career meetings with the Panthers.

High Point's greatest advantage on the night came at the foul line, shooting 14-of-20 to Liberty's 4-of-5.

Up Next
Liberty will tip off the second half of its Big South schedule with back-to-back home games, starting with a Saturday matinee against Presbyterian (7-13, 4-5 Big South). Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Vines Center as the Lady Flames seek a season sweep of the Blue Hose.

Liberty opened conference play with a 76-64 victory at Presbyterian on Jan. 2, led by Lela Sellers' 18 points on 5-of-5 three-point shooting.