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ODU Runs Past Liberty in NCAA First Round

March 23, 2008  Norfolk, Va.  RSS
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Megan Frazee led Liberty in scoring (19 points) and rebounding (8 boards) against Old Dominion.

Megan Frazee led Liberty in scoring (19 points) and rebounding (8 boards) against Old Dominion.

Old Dominion took control of Sunday evening's first-round NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship contest against Liberty with a 15-0 first half run. The No. 5-seed Monarchs went on to claim an 82-62 victory over the No. 12-seed Lady Flames in front of ODU's home fans at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

Liberty's 2007-08 season ends at 28-4, despite three Lady Flames reaching double figures in the scoring column, paced by Megan Frazee's 19 markers. Liberty matched a program and Big South record for wins in a season.

Old Dominion advances to Tuesday evening's second-round match-up against the winner of Sunday's late game between No. 4-seed Virginia and No. 13-seed UC Santa Barbara. The Monarchs are now 30-4, after being sparked by a 10-for-11 shooting performance and a game-high and career-high 20-point outing by Shahida Williams.

ODU is now 2-0 all-time against in-state rival Liberty, with both meetings coming in the NCAA Tournament.

Liberty put two points on the scoreboard before the opening tip. Old Dominion was assessed a technical foul for having a player on its bench who did not appear in the official scorebook, and Megan Frazee sank a pair of free throws with 20:00 still showing on the first-half clock.

Neither team led by more than two points before the first media timeout, and the lead changed hands four times during the early-going. Megan Frazee scored seven points in the first four minutes of action, including a three-pointer at 16:19, which gave Liberty a 9-7 edge.

The homestanding Monarchs held a slim 11-10 advantage prior to a 9-3 run by the Lady Flames. Molly Frazee's running bank shot in the lane with 12:03 remaining in the first half lifted the visitors to a 19-14 advantage.

Old Dominion, the 17-time defending CAA champion, answered with 15-consecutive points, keeping Liberty without a point for nearly six minutes. Senior forward Williams notched three field goals during the Monarchs' surge, including an interior hoop at the 6:44 mark that pushed ODU's edge to 29-19.

Liberty cut its deficit to six, 32-26, after Molly Frazee converted a reverse layup into a three-point play at 3:41 of the first half.

The Monarchs then tallied 11 of the stanza's last 15 points. Tiffany Green's tip-in as time expired left Liberty with a 44-30 halftime disadvantage. The 14-point deficit matched the Dec. 30 North Carolina contest as the Lady Flames' largest halftime deficit of the season.

Liberty shot just 32.1 percent (9-of-28) from the floor during the opening 20 minutes, and was forced to stay within striking distance from the charity stripe, where the Lady Flames hit 90.9 percent (10-of-11).

The Lady Flames, who had outrebounded 17 consecutive opponents, found the Monarchs owning a 23-17 edge on the glass before the break.

In addition to rebounding, Old Dominion shot well from the perimeter, sinking half of its 12 three-point tries.

Megan Frazee led all players with 13 opening-half points and added a team-best four rebounds. Sister Molly Frazee added eight points, three boards and three assists.

For the Monarchs, Williams made all but one of her seven field goals on her way to a 12-point half. Jazzmin Walters chipped in with nine markers, all of which came from behind the three-point arc.

Old Dominion expanded its lead to 17 at 49-32 with five straight markers early in the second half. Williams' baseline field goal at 17:25 capped the quick burst.

Liberty pulled back to within 12 with five consecutive points of its own. Egle Smigelskaite's three-point play at the 16:00 mark cut ODU's edge to 49-37.

The Monarchs pieced together an ensuing 10-3 surge, bolstering their lead to 19 points, 59-40, with 11:44 left. Jen Nuzzo's triple from the corner punctuated the run.

The Lady Flames twice cut their deficit to 13 points during the final five minutes. Megan Frazee's jumper with 3:34 remaining made it 73-60, Monarchs.

ODU closed out the game with a 9-2 run, finishing off a 20-point (82-62) decision.

Liberty made 15 of its 18 foul shots (83.3 percent) during the game, but shot just 22-of-60 (36.7 percent) from the field. The Lady Flames were also outrebounded by the Monarchs, 45-34.

Megan Frazee complemented her 19 points with a team-high eight rebounds and a trio of assists.

The Lady Flames received considerable offensive production from point guards Rachel McLeod and Allyson Fasnacht during the final 20 minutes of action. The duo combined for 17 points in the half. McLeod's eight second-half points gave her a career-high 11 points on the evening. Fasnacht closed her Liberty career with a nine-point, three-assist effort.

Molly Frazee was the Lady Flames' final double-digit scorer, tossing in 10 points to go along with four caroms.

Jessica Canady (14 points), Walters (12 points) and Tiffany Green (10 points) joined Williams in double digits for the home team. Megan Pym led all players in both rebounds (10) and blocks (7), while Walters chipped in nine of her squad's 25 assists.