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Lady Flames Clinch BSC Regular-Season Title

February 23, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Amber Mays contributed 12 points, six assists and a team-high four steals on Monday, helping Liberty wrap up the Big South regular-season title.

Amber Mays contributed 12 points, six assists and a team-high four steals on Monday, helping Liberty wrap up the Big South regular-season title.

For the 11th time in the last 12 seasons, the Liberty women's basketball team has captured the Big South Conference regular-season championship. The Lady Flames wrapped up the title by shooting a school-record 70.2 percent from the field in an 81-59 win at Charleston Southern, Monday evening.

Liberty is now 18-7 overall and a perfect 12-0 in conference play, after extending numerous winning streaks. The Lady Flames have won seven consecutive road games, 15 consecutive contests overall, 16 consecutive games versus Big South foes and 24 consecutive games against Charleston Southern.

Liberty's 70.2 percent (33-of-47) field goal accuracy broke the existing school single-game record of 67.3 percent, set against Charleston Southern last season, on Jan. 19, 2008. The Lady Flames narrowly missed the all-time record for field goal percentage in a Big South women's basketball contest. UNC Greensboro shot 71.9 percent against UNC Asheville on Feb. 11, 1994.

Charleston Southern drops to 10-16 overall and 4-9 in Big South action, despite scoring the most points by a conference team against the Lady Flames all season.

After Avery Warley won the opening tip-off, the Lady Flames ran out to a quick, 4-0 advantage within the game's first 39 seconds, on hoops by Big South Player of the Week Megan Frazee and Warley.

Charleston Southern, the most prolific three-point shooting team in Big South history, countered with triples by Kelsey Wasmer and Katie Tull on its next two possessions, claiming a 6-4 lead with 18:27 remaining in the opening half.

The homestanding Lady Buccaneers' edge only lasted for 20 seconds, however, as a Rachel Hammond triple from the corner put Liberty back in front. Her long-distance connection initiated an 11-2 burst by the Lady Flames. Moriah Frazee's three-point play at 16:35 capped off the run, giving Liberty a 15-8 edge.

Pam Tolbert's first basket of the night, coming at the 15:19 mark, trimmed the home team's deficit to 15-10. Liberty then scored eight of the contest's next 11 points, building its initial double-digit lead, 23-13, on Warley's field goal 9:24 before the break.

Liberty's advantage stood at nine points (26-17), prior to a 9-2 burst by the Lady Buccaneers. Ali Schwagmeyer, named Big South Freshman of the Week earlier in the day, hit a 13-foot jumper at 3:28 to cut the Lady Flames' lead to 28-26.

Charleston Southern only made one more field goal during the remainder of the stanza, as Liberty finished out the final 20 minutes on an 11-3 spurt. Four different Lady Flames contributed to the run, which gave Liberty a 39-29 halftime edge.

Liberty shot 57.7 percent (15-of-26) from the field and owned a sizable 23-9 rebounding edge in the first half. However, Charleston Southern stayed within striking distance by making five triples and scoring 12 points off the Lady Flames' 15 miscues.

Both of Liberty's Frazee sisters reached double figures in the scoring column during the first 20 minutes of play. Moriah Frazee paced all players with 12 markers, while Megan Frazee added 10 points, a half-high seven boards and four assists. Eight of the nine Lady Flames who played in the first half scored at least two points.

Lydia Johnson made four of her five opening-half field goal attempts, scoring 10 points prior to the intermission to pace the Charleston Southern offense. As a team, the Lady Buccaneers connected on 37.9 percent (11-of-29) of their field goal attempts in the first 20 minutes of play.

Wasmer opened the second-half scoring with her third trey of the game, just 42 seconds in. Her three points temporarily shaved Liberty's lead down to seven, 39-32.

Warley converted an old-fashioned three-point play on the red-clad Lady Flames' ensuing possession, helping Liberty reclaim momentum. Her trio of markers started off an extended 15-2 run by the visitors. Megan Frazee scored five of the surge's points, including a layup at 14:57 that increased Liberty's edge to 54-34.

The Lady Flames built their lead up to 24 points, 60-36, before a 7-0 run by Charleston Southern. Back-to-back Pam Tolbert baskets finished the surge, which made the score 60-43, Liberty, with 11:06 on the second-half clock.

A fade-away jumper by Amber Mays and a Megan Frazee free throw put Liberty in front by 20 points once again, 63-43.

The Lady Buccaneers had one more run remaining. They trimmed a 21-point deficit to 15, 70-55, with 5:11 left, after Schwagmeyer scored six straight tallies during an 8-2 CSU surge.

The Lady Flames closed the game by scoring nine of the contest's last 11 points, bolstering Liberty's final margin of victory to 22 points, 81-59.

Liberty missed only three field goals during the entire second half, shooting an incredible 85.7 percent (18-of-21) from the field. Meanwhile, Charleston Southern struggled from the outside after the intermission, making just one triple on 13 attempts (7.7 percent).

The Lady Flames, who currently rank No. 2 nationally in rebounding margin, did nothing to harm that statistic on Monday. They outrebounded the Lady Buccaneers, 37-18, on the evening.

Four of Liberty's five starters scored in double figures, paced by Megan Frazee. Frazee, who became the program's first-ever ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America first-team selection Monday evening, led all players in points (20), rebounds (10) and assists (career high-tying 7). She is now the No. 9 scorer in Big South history, with 1,724 career points.

Sister Moriah Frazee added 18 points, five rebounds and a game-high two blocked shots. Point guard Mays finished with a dozen points, six assists and four steals. Her quartet of thefts give her 52 for the season, making Mays the first Lady Flame to record 50 steals since Sharon Wilkerson in 1999-2000, head coach Carey Green's first year at Liberty.

Warley, Liberty's final double-digit scorer, made all five of her field goals as part of an 11-point effort. The redshirt freshman has connected on eight consecutive field goals and 19 of her last 20 attempts (95.0 percent), boosting her Big South-leading field goal percentage to 62.0 percent.

Three Lady Buccaneers scored in double digits, led by Johnson's career-high 13 points and Tolbert's 13 markers. Schwagmeyer paced the home team with six caroms.

Liberty will return to Lynchburg for its final two-game homestand of the season. The Lady Flames will host UNC Asheville (10-16, 7-6 Big South) Saturday at 7 p.m. The contest will serve as Liberty's Senior Night, and Alexandria Bream, Megan Frazee, Molly Frazee, Moriah Frazee, Rachel Hammond, Rebecca Lightfoot and Jessica Nelson will all be recognized prior to tip-off.

Meanwhile, Charleston Southern will prepare for its Senior Night recognition Saturday as well. The Lady Buccaneers will play host to Gardner-Webb for their final home game of the year, with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m.