Saturday, February 4, 2012

Radford stuns High Point; Liberty, Richmond and NSU post big wins

Avery Warley sets rebounding mark.
Saturday's results:

Radford 66, High Point 61: Remember those hot streaks Radford typically has at the start of Big South conference play that the Highlanders didn't have this season?

They're having it now.

Da'Naria Erwin Spencer scored 14 of her 21 points in the second half and made a huge layup with 19 seconds as the Highlanders dealt the Panthers their first conference loss. Victoria Hamilton sealed the decision with three free throws late and finished with 16 points as Radford (11-10, 5-5 Big South) won its fourth straight game.

Two years ago, the Highlanders won four of their first five conference games, and last year they got off to a 7-1 start in league play. This season, though, Radford lost five of its first six Big South games, including an 81-65 loss at home to High Point. and appears to be reeling until a 53-26 rout of Presbyterian on Jan. 23. The Highlanders have been on a roll ever since, and their streak is particularly impressive given that the last three victories have all come on the road.

Victories at High Point carry an extra benefit because they come on the same floor on which the conference tournament will be contested. Also, Radford's victory is great news for Liberty as it moved the Lady Flames (14-7, 9-1) into a first-place tie with High Point (14-7, 9-1). The two conference leaders meet on Monday at 7 p.m. at High Point..

Liberty 58, Campbell 45
After 13 boards in this one, Avery Warley became the Big South's all-time leading rebounder with  1,130. Warley and Reagan Miller each added 10 in a balanced effort by the Lady Flames (14-7, 9-1), who shot 54 percent from the field. Speaking of big numbers, coach Carey Green recorded his 300th career victory and Liberty dominated, leading by as many as 24.

Richmond 78, St. Josesph's 59
The Spiders (18-5, 6-3) hadn't beaten the Hawks since 2007, but had no trouble on Saturday in an overpowering effort highlighted by Becca Wann's double-double 18 points and 10 rebounds along with five assists. Abby Oliver scored 19 and Genevieve Okoro -- curiously off the bench -- finished with 13 points. The 18-5 mark is Richmond's best record since the 2004-05 season, the last year the team went to the NCAA Tournament.

Norfolk State 84, Delaware State 66
The Spartans shot 60 percent, including a blistering effort from Whitney Long (17 point on 7-of-9 shooting in 21 minutes). Long became the 20th NSU player to reach the 1,000-point mark (first since Toia Johnson in 2007). Senior Tyisha Bridges tied her career mark with 20 points, and NSU (9-12, 4-6) owned the paint, outscoring DSU 60-22. Despite the heroics, 46 fouls and 56 free throws made us happy we didn't see this one up close.

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