Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Liberty takes control of Big South race; Radford wins fifth straight

Liberty 73, High Point 65

The Lady Flames lost the rebounding battle for the first time in 49 games. But considering they gained some payback and sole possession of the Big South lead, we'd say they made out well in the exchange.

Five Liberty players scored in double figures as the Lady Flames roared out to a 19-point lead and held on to knock off the Panthers in a battle of conference co-leaders for their ninth straight victory. The Lady Flames also avenged their last defeat, a 73-69 overtime decision to these same Panthers on Jan. 7.

High Point star Erin Reynolds lit up the Lady Flames in that one, nailing a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left to force overtime, recording her team's final six points in the extra period and finishing with game-high 21 points. In the rematch, however, the Lady Flames limited Reynolds to just 10 points - 2 in the second half - on 4-of-19 shooting. Liberty used a 12-0 first-half run to build a 13-point lead and extended their advantage to 19 midway through the second half before withstanding a High Point rally that got the Panthers to within four.

Tolu Omotola and Devon Brown each scored 13 points to lead Liberty (15-7, 10-1 Big South), which shot 50.2 percent from the field and made 6 of 13 3-pointers. LaKendra Washington and freshmen Reagan Miller and Catherine Kearney added 10 points apiece; Miller also contributed six assists and just two turnovers.

Tayler Tremblay scored 21 points to lead High Point (14-8, 9-2), which lost at home for the second time in three days. One small consolation: the Panthers won the rebounding battle 37-36 to become the first Liberty opponent to do so since Baylor on Nov. 26, 2010.

Radford 64, Campbell 59: The streaking Highlanders rallied to win their fifth straight led by Da'Naria Erwin Spencer, who scored a game-high 24 points and cracked the 1,000-career points barrier. Erwin Spencer's jumper with 1:23 left in the second half snapped a 56-56 tie for the Highlanders (12-10, 6-5 Big South), who were down by eight with less than 9 minutes remaining. Ashley Buckhannon added 20 points and hit 6 of Radford's 10 3-pointers. The victory capped a perfect 4-0 road trip for the Highlanders, who have moved into fourth place in the Big South standings:

Big South standings
Liberty                     10-1   15-7
High Point                  9-2   14-8
Charleston Southern   7-4   14-8
Radford                     6-5   12-10
Winthrop                   5-5   11-11
Campbell                   5-6    12-10
Coastal Carolina        5-6    12-8
Presbyterian              3-7      9-12
UNC Asheville          3-8     7-15
Gardner-Webb         1-10    2-19

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