High Point, NC - From Big South Sports
HIGH POINT, N.C. – Ahead by one point at half time, No. 2 Liberty outscored No. 3 High Point 40-23 in the second half to advance past No. 3 High Point, 73-55, in the semifinals of the 2010 Advance Auto Parts Women's Basketball Championship, Saturday, March 13 at the Millis Center on the campus of High Point University.
Liberty advances to its third consecutive Championship game and will play No. 1 Gardner-Webb Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm live on SportSouth/MASN.
The game was fast-paced from the start as both teams traded baskets for the first four minutes of play. Liberty's Amber Mays scored the first seven points for the Lady Flames to make it 7-4. High Point went on top after Jurica Hargraves drained a three-pointer to take a 9-7 lead at the 14:39 mark. Mackenzie Maier knocked down another shot from downtown as the Panthers extended their lead to 19-12 at the halfway point of the first half.
Liberty's Kylee Beecher knocked down two free throws to close the lead to one at 21-20 with 6:37 remaining. High Point answered quickly with a 7-0 run over the next two minutes, extending its lead to 28-20 at the 4:35 mark. Liberty began to chip its way back and took the lead at 33-32 after Rachel McLeod knocked down a free throw with five seconds on the clock to give the Lady Flames a one-point advantage heading in to half time.
Liberty was led by Devon Brown's and Mays' nine points apiece, while High Point received eight points from Shamia Brown off the bench. Both teams shot well in the first half as High Point knocked down 52 percent (14-of-27) of its shots, while Liberty shot 40 percent (12-of-30) from the floor and outscored the Panthers 22-14 in the paint.
After going back and forth to begin the second half, Liberty extended its lead to 45-38 on Jelena Antic's jumper at the 14:40 mark and made it a 10-point game at 48-38 after an Antic three-pointer at 12:33. Liberty pulled away from there as the Lady Flames shot 62.5 percent (15-of-24) in the second half, while holding High Point to 36 percent (9-of-25) shooting.
Liberty had three players finish in double-figures scoring, led by Mays' career-high 21 points. Brown and Dymond Morgan added 17 and 13 points, respectively. High Point was led by Hargraves' 10 points off the bench, while Ashlee Samuels grabbed eight boards. The Lady Flames out rebounded the Panthers, 39-28, and held a 38-26 advantage in points in the paint.
Liberty advances to its 13th Championship game and improves to 38-6 in the tournament, while head coach Carey Green improves his tournament record to 29-1. Liberty faces Gardner-Webb in a rematch of last year's Championship game, the first championship rematch since 2000, when Liberty met Coastal Carolina in the final for the second consecutive season.