Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Virginia rolls, Liberty gets 'A' for effort

We didn't think much of Liberty's chances Tuesday, and while they didn't win, the Lady Flames' performance came as a pleasant surprise.

By contrast, we were 99 percent sure of Virginia's chances Tuesday. Thankfully, there were no surprises in this one.

Tuesday's games

No. 17 St. John's 81, Liberty 66: That score doesn't do Liberty's Terrapin Classic effort justice. The Lady Flames led 37-34 at the half and were down by just two at 62-60 with less than six minutes to go. How'd they stay in it? By dominating the boards in vintage Liberty fashion (40-25), outscoring the Red Storm 20-6 in second-chance points. With a surprising 7 3-pointers. And with some huge contributions off the bench from Lakendra Washington (4 3-pointers) and Danika Dale, who each finished with 13 points. It would have been nice to see what Liberty could have done if Devon Brown (11 points on 3-of-14 shooting) could have found a hot hand, or if Avery Warley could have contributed more than 2 points before fouling out in 15 minutes. And turnovers continue to be a major issue- the Lady Flames had 24 of them, which led to 26 St. John's points. Still, this shouldn't be about what Liberty did wrong. Credit the Red Storm for making a late sprint the Lady Flames simply couldn't match. And credit the Lady Flames (4-7) for turning in, all things considered, arguably their best effort of the year. The key now will be to consolidate today's effort with another strong showing in Wednesday's 2 p.m. consolation game against LaSalle. Do that and the Lady Flames can return home feeling as though they're making progress. St. John's will face No. 18 Maryland at 11:30 a.m. in Wednesday's title game.

Virginia 88, North Carolina A&T 59:  Twelve of the 13 Cavaliers that saw action recorded at least one assist - with a high of 4 by China Crosby - as Virginia (8-5) dished out a season-high 22 dimes en route to a season-high point total. Freshman Jazmin Pitts celebrated her first career start with a career-high 17 points and Chelsea Shine added 14 points and 5 rebounds. No Cavalier played more than 25 minutes, so everyone should be fresh and ready for Wednesday's 7 p.m. Cavalier Classic title game against East Tennessee State (4-6). North Carolina A&T will face Holy Cross in the 4:30 p.m. consolation game.

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