Liberty women moves to 9-1 in Big South with 63-55 win over Presbyterian
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET/Liberty Flames) – Liberty post players KK Barbour and Keyen Green combined for 36 points and 15 rebounds, including all 16 of the Lady Flames’ fourth-quarter points, Saturday afternoon at the Vines Center. Their efforts helped the Lady Flames power past Presbyterian, 63-55, in a game of contrasting styles.
The Blue Hose, who rank No. 14 nationally for three-pointers made, stayed close throughout by hitting eight triples. However, Liberty’s post dominance proved too much for the visitors to overcome, as Barbour fashioned a double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) and the Lady Flames dominated the points in the paint category, 44-14.
Now riding a season-long five-game winning streak, Liberty remains in sole possession of first place in the Big South standings with a 9-1 conference record and a 14-8 overall mark. The Lady Flames shot 54.9 percent (28-of-51) from the field, including 65.2 percent (15-of-23) after halftime, on their way to an 8-0 home record this season.
Presbyterian drops to 7-14 overall, 4-6 in the Big South and 2-10 on the road this season. Janie Miles scored a team-high 13 points to eclipse the 1,000 mark for her career, but her team finished at just 37.3 percent (19-of-51) from the field and 29.6 percent (8-of-27) from long distance.
A back-and-forth opening quarter saw three ties and four lead changes before Liberty emerged with a 16-12 advantage. Lela Sellers paced all players with seven points during the first 10 minutes, sinking both of her three-point attempts. Meanwhile, Liberty limited the Blue Hose to 1-of-7 from beyond the arc during the stanza.
Liberty took a pair of seven-point leads early in the second quarter before Presbyterian started clicking at the offensive end. The Blue Hose nailed three triples in the period and Cortney Storey scored five straight points, including a three-point play at 3:42 which tied the score at 27-27.
The Lady Flames took a 31-30 edge into the locker room, as Barbour (8 points, 5 rebounds) helped Liberty outscore the visitors, 20-8, inside the paint during the opening half.
Storey kept the Blue Hose close with a 10-point, four-assist first half, playing all 20 minutes.
Liberty shot 70 percent (7-of-10) during the third quarter but could not pull away, as the Lady Flames also committed five turnovers. Miles scored eight third-quarter points for the Blue Hose, who trailed by only two (47-45) heading to the fourth.
The Lady Flames scored the fourth quarter’s first six points, courtesy of two Barbour layups and one by Green. Presbyterian could get no closer than five the rest of the way, as Liberty completed a regular-season sweep of the Blue Hose.
Saturday’s matinee marked the 250th game Carey Green has coached at the Vines Center, and the Lady Flames improved to 213-37 in those contests.
Presbyterian shot just 30.8 percent (8-of-26) after halftime, becoming the ninth straight opponent Liberty has limited to 60 points or fewer.
The Lady Flames finished with a 36-23 rebounding advantage, winning the battle of the boards for the eighth game in a row.
Liberty recorded assists on a season-high 22 of its 28 made baskets, including five apiece by Sellers and Ashtyn Baker.
Barbour’s double-double was her third of the season and the fifth of her career, while the junior shot 10-of-12 during her second career 20-point outing.
Green hit 7-of-11 field goals herself and is now shooting 71 percent (22-of-31) from the floor during four career meetings with the Blue Hose.
Sellers tallied 10 points on the day, sinking 3-of-4 three-point tries. The Iowa native is now 8-of-9 from beyond the arc against the Blue Hose this season.
Tatyana Crowder set career highs for both assists (4) and steals (4).
For the Blue Hose, Miles paced four double-digit scorers, also including Storey (11 points, 7 assists, 4 steals), Tess Santos (11 points, 6 rebounds) and Salina Virola (10 points). The Lady Flames’ defense held Storey to a single point during the second half after her hot start offensively.
Liberty will remain at home for a Tuesday matchup with Gardner-Webb (14-8, 4-6 Big South), with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Vines Center.
The Lady Flames, who have won six straight home matchups with the Runnin’ Bulldogs, will attempt to complete a regular-season sweep of Gardner-Webb. Liberty posted an 85-60 victory in Boiling Springs, N.C., on Jan. 13.