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Lady Flames Hold Down Cornell in 70-40 Win

December 28, 2009  Charlottesville, Va.  RSS
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Jelena Antic totaled 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds in her first career start, Monday versus Cornell.

Jelena Antic totaled 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds in her first career start, Monday versus Cornell.

Playing less than 30 miles east of her hometown, Liberty redshirt freshman Devon Brown tallied 18 points against Cornell Monday evening, leading three Lady Flames in double digits. As a result, Liberty reached Tuesday night's Marriott Cavalier Classic title game with an impressive 70-40 victory over the Big Red at John Paul Jones Arena.

The Lady Flames, returning from a 13-day Christmas break, improve to 7-2 on the season. Liberty shot 52.8 percent from the field, while holding Cornell 30 points below its season scoring average. The Lady Flames will face the host team, No. 20/23 Virginia, Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the tournament championship game. 

Meanwhile, Cornell dropped its second straight contest, falling to 5-5 in 2009-10. The Big Red will meet Samford in Tuesday's consolation game, slated for a 4:30 p.m. tip.

Liberty's trapping defense forced four early Cornell turnovers, leading to an 8-0 Lady Flames advantage out of the gate. Amber Mays' steal and fast break layup at the 16:00 mark punctuated Liberty's game-opening surge.

Clare Fitzpatrick broke the ice with a 12-foot jumper on Cornell's ensuing possession, before Liberty reeled off six more points in succession. Back-to-back hoops by Brown pushed the Lady Flames' lead to 14-2, 13:25 before halftime.

Cornell's most successful stretch of the opening 20 minutes saw the Big Red hold the Lady Flames scoreless for 3:24. Meanwhile, Cornell posted a 5-0 run, cutting its deficit to 20-11 when Allie Fedorowicz connected on both ends of a one-and-one at 6:43.

However, the Big Red managed only one more field goal, a Lauren Benson three-pointer, for the remainder of the half. Liberty closed the stanza with an 11-2 surge, capped off by Brown's fifth made field goal. Her jumper put the Lady Flames in front, 31-14.

Liberty was able to control the action around the basket in the first half, notching a 20-0 advantage in points in the paint and outrebounding the Big Red, 24-11.

The Lady Flames also pestered Cornell on the perimeter, forcing 13 turnovers and holding the typically sharpshooting Big Red to a pair of made triples in eight attempts.

Liberty connected on 46.2 percent (12-of-26) of its field goal attempts before halftime, while Cornell shot just 22.7 percent (5-of-27). Both teams struggled from the foul line, with the Lady Flames checking in at 46.2 percent (6-of-13) and the Big Red hitting 50 percent (2-of-4) of its free throws.

Individually, Brown led all players with 12 first-half points and added five rebounds. Teammate Avery Warley matched Brown's five boards, while Kylee Beecher came off the bench to tally five points. Dymond Morgan led Liberty's defensive effort in the opening stanza, coming up with a trio of steals.

Virginia McMunigal played all 20 minutes in the first half, scoring a team-high five points and sharing the Cornell lead with three caroms.

The two teams traded hoops for the first five minutes of the second period, before Liberty put the game away with an 18-2 surge. Jelena Antic, making the first start of her young career, scored five points during the extended run. Fellow freshman LaKendra Washington closed the surge with a jumper at the 9:18 mark, giving Liberty its largest lead of the night, 59-23.

Cornell trimmed its deficit to 26 as head coach Carey Green rested his starting five for the remaining nine minutes. However, Liberty went on to claim its fourth 30-point win of the season, 70-40.

The Lady Flames sank 59.3 percent (16-of-27) of their field goals after halftime, finishing the game at 52.8 percent. Those numbers were aided by a 44-6 advantage in "points in the paint" and 14 fast break tallies.

Meanwhile, Cornell shot a season-low 27.1 percent (13-of-48) and made its fewest three-pointers of the year, four.

Neither team shot particularly well from the charity stripe. Liberty ended the game shooting 52.4 percent (11-of-21), while Cornell hit 55.6 percent (10-of-18).

Liberty won the battle of the boards, 43-25, grabbing 16 offensive rebounds. Five Lady Flames pulled down at least five caroms, led by Antic's game-high eight boards to go along with 11 points.

Brown was also active on the glass, complementing her scoring output with six boards. Warley also reached double figures offensively, ending up with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Washington was Liberty's leading reserve scorer with nine markers, helping the Lady Flames enjoy a 24-9 edge in bench points.

Mays did an effective job at both ends of the floor in her 20 minutes of work, tying her career high with eight assists and pacing all players with four steals.

McMunigal scored 15 points to lead Cornell. Fedorowicz added seven points and shared the team rebounding lead (four) with Christine Vlasic.