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Liberty Shakes Off Slow Start for 73-53 Victory at Winthrop

February 20, 2018  Rock Hill, S.C.  RSS
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Tatyana Crowder scored nine points during the Lady Flames' 73-53 triumph at Winthrop.

Tatyana Crowder scored nine points during the Lady Flames' 73-53 triumph at Winthrop.

After trailing Winthrop by one point at halftime, Liberty quickly turned things around during the third quarter, Tuesday evening at the Winthrop Coliseum. A 30-9 third-quarter scoring advantage propelled the Lady Flames to a 73-53 triumph.

Winthrop owned a 26-25 advantage at the intermission before Big South Freshman of the Week Ashtyn Baker scored 11 points during a 22-1 game-changing run that gave the Lady Flames the lead for good.

Liberty improves to 18-9 overall and 13-2 in the Big South, maintaining its one-game lead over Radford atop the conference standings. The Lady Flames shot 68 percent (17-of-25) during a 48-point second half. Baker paced Liberty with 15 points on 7-of-7 shooting, while KK Barbour added 11 points, eight rebounds and four of the Lady Flames' 13 steals.

Winthrop falls to 2-24 overall and 1-14 in conference play with its sixth straight loss overall and its seventh consecutive setback to the Lady Flames. The Eagles' Courtney Hagaman led all players with 19 points, but Winthrop committed 19 turnovers that led to 22 Liberty points.

Tatyana Crowder's second hoop of the early-going, a driving layup at the 6:02 mark, wrapped up a 9-0 run by the Lady Flames and put the visitors on top, 11-2. Later in the quarter, Miquela Santoro scored five points during a 7-0 Winthrop burst, including a three-point play at 1:30 which trimmed the Eagles' deficit to 15-13.

Nene Johnson became the sixth different Lady Flame to find the scoring column in the first quarter when her three-pointer lifted Liberty's advantage to 18-13 at the end of the period. The Lady Flames shot 50 percent (8-of-16) for the stanza, aided by 14 points in the paint.

Liberty then managed only seven points during the second quarter, shooting just 17.6 percent (3-of-17) from the field. Hagaman tallied seven of her 11 first-half points during the period for Winthrop and the Eagles took their first lead of the night, 26-25, on a Ronata Rogers mid-range jumper just before halftime.

The Eagles shot 47.8 percent (11-of-23) during the opening half, compared with just 33.3 percent (11-of-33) for the Lady Flames. Barbour was Liberty's most effective player in the first 20 minutes, contributing nine points and six boards.

Liberty emerged from the locker room with renewed energy on the defensive end, limiting Winthrop to 1-of-12 shooting and forcing eight turnovers during the third quarter. The Eagles were on top 28-26 with 9:26 remaining in the period before the Lady Flames' aforementioned 22-1 run. Baker tallied 11 points during the surge, which ended when Molly Reagan's free throw at the 2:18 mark gave Liberty a 48-29 lead.

The Lady Flames connected on 10-of-15 attempts for the period, outscoring the Eagles by a 30-9 count during the quarter. As a result, Liberty took a 55-35 cushion into the final period.

Keyen Green scored the fourth quarter's first five points, extending Liberty's lead to 25 points (60-35), its largest of the night. Winthrop never got any closer than 20 points down the rest of the way, becoming the 11th straight opponent Liberty has held below 60 points.

The Lady Flames finished at 48.3 percent (28-of-58) from the field during their highest scoring output since an 85-60 win at Gardner-Webb on Jan. 13. Liberty racked up 42 points in the paint and 10 fast-break points.

Liberty posted a 39-27 rebounding advantage, converting 12 offensive boards into 11 second-chance points.

Baker, who scored 13 of her 15 points after halftime, came up with three steals. Barbour's four steals equaled her career high.

Green saw her double-digit scoring streak halted at nine straight games, but contributed nine points and eight caroms.

Liberty's reserves contributed 26 points, led by seven points apiece from Johnson and  Reagan.

Anika Riley made it two Winthrop Eagles in double figures, tallying nine of her 11 points in the fourth quarter.

Up Next
Liberty will complete its regular-season road schedule on Saturday, making the trek to Charleston Southern (10-16, 5-10 Big South). Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. inside the Buc Dome.

The Lady Flames defeated CSU by a 63-53 count on Jan. 6 at the Vines Center and has been victorious in each of its last six visits to Charleston.