Liberty's first half run too much for Lady Bucs to handle, 64-54
Tuesday, January 13, 2009

LYNCHBURG, Va. (Jan. 13, 2009) - Liberty closed out the final five minutes of the first half on a 15-0 run and the Lady Buccaneers were never able to recover, as the Lady Flames handed ETSU its first loss in 2009, 64-54, Tuesday night inside the Vines Center.


The loss snapped the Lady Bucs' four-game winning streak and ETSU dropped to 7-7 at the midpoint of its season. Liberty moved its winning streak to five games and jumped to 8-7 on the season. 


Juniors TaRonda Wiles (Danville) and Latisha Belcher (Martinsville), along with freshman Gwen Washington (Manassas) each played well in the trip back to their home state of Virginia. Washington posted her first career double-double, ending with 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Wiles poured in a game-high 18 points, while Belcher finished with 14 points, five rebounds and four steals.


In the first half ETSU jumped out of the gates in a hurry, using a 9-2 run to establish early momentum five and a half minutes into the contest. After missing all 13 three-point attempts on Saturday at Stetson and its first of the night here in Lynchburg, Washington finally snapped the 0-for-14 streak, when she nailed a long-range bomb at the 17:20 mark.


However, after a Belcher lay-up with 14:32 to play in the half, the Lady Bucs were held scoreless for the next 5:09 and Liberty took advantage by scoring nine unanswered to regain an 11-9 lead when Rachel Hammond drained a jumper with 10:06 on the clock. Wiles eventually stopped the bleeding when she stole a Moriah Frazee pass and took it coast-to-coast to even the game at 11-all with 9:23 left in the half.


From there, the Lady Flames would go up by as many as four, 16-12, but a 12-4 Lady Buccaneer run gave ETSU another burst, 24-20, as Wiles remained red-hot - scoring five points during the stretch. Unfortunately Wiles' 3-pointer at the 5:01 mark were the last points ETSU would score, and Liberty closed out the rest of the half on fire - posting a 15-0 run to take a 35-24 lead into the locker room.   


Once again poor shooting crushed the Lady Bucs in the opening 20 minutes as they went 10-for-31 (32.3 percent), compared to Liberty's 46.9 shooting clip (15-32). ETSU was clearly out-matched on the boards, as the Lady Flames held a plus-10 advantage (25-15) and scored seven second-chance points off nine offensive rebounds. Wiles led all scorers at the break with nine, while Megan Frazee chipped in with eight for Liberty.


The Lady Bucs were living by the 3-point shot to start the first eight minutes of the second half, as three of their five made field goals came via the trey; however, the deep bombs did little damage to the Liberty lead as the Lady Flames led by seven, 44-37, with 11:48 left in the contest.


Heading out of the under 12 media timeout, ETSU was able to lower its deficit to 46-41 after Tara Davis (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) sank a pair of free throws, but nine consecutive Liberty points extended its margin to 14, 55-41, with 9:52 left in the game.


The run took the wind out of the Lady Buccaneer sails, as ETSU never got back to within single digits.


The Lady Bucs again struggled with their shooting. ETSU finished the game with a 33.3 shooting percentage (21-63), while Liberty shot 47.3 percent from the field (26-55). The Lady Flames dominated ETSU on the glass - 45 to 31 - and also outscored the Lady Bucs in the paint by 10, 38-28. ETSU did force Liberty into 29 turnovers and scored 22 points off those miscues.


Liberty was led by Megan Frazee's 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Avery Warley also netted 15.


ETSU's tough schedule continues as they return home for a season-long four-game homestand, beginning Thursday night when instate rival Belmont visits Memorial Center. Tip time is set for 7 p.m., and it also marks the fourth game in eight days for the Lady Bucs.


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