Liberty wins women’s basketball championship

From Big South Sports

HIGH POINT, N.C.  – Devon Brown's jumper with 4.2 seconds remaining lifted No. 2 Liberty past No. 1 Gardner-Webb, 68-66, to win the 2010 Advance Auto Parts Women's Basketball Championship Sunday, March 14 at the Millis Center on the campus of High Point University.  The Lady Flames receive the Big South's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with the victory.

After Gardner-Webb took its first lead of the game on a Dominique Hudson three-point with 2:32 reaming, Liberty stepped up down the stretch.  In the final minute, Brown provided the go-ahead bucket to give the Lady Flames a 66-64 lead with 32 second to play.  Gardner-Webb's Courtney Epps would answer back, driving to the hole to tie the game at 66 and setting up Liberty for the final possession.  After a Liberty timeout, Brown drove to her right with time running down and banked in the game-winner, leading Liberty to its third-straight Big South Tournament title.

The first half was all Liberty, as the Lady Flames took a 38-24 lead into halftime after shooting 61 percent (14-of-23) from the floor, while holding Gardner-Webb to 24 percent (7-of-29) shooting and 0-of-6 from beyond the arc.  Amber Mays led Liberty at the break with eight points, with Brown and Jelena Antic adding seven points each.  Margaret Roundtree was the leading score at the half for the Lady Bulldogs with six points.  A physical opening half resulted in a combined 25 fouls at intermission, including three fouls for Liberty's Kylee Beecher and Mays, while Gardner-Webb's leading scorer in the tournament, Dominique Hudson, sat the final eight minutes of the first half with three fouls.

Liberty would push its lead to 54-34 in the second half after a layup by Brown at the 11:49 mark.  Gardner-Webb was not done yet as the Lady Bulldogs mustered a 22-4 run over the next eight minutes, including 10 points from Monique Hudson, to pull within two at 58-56 and set up the exciting finish.

Tournament MVP Brown led Liberty with a game-high 24 points and eight rebounds.  Gardner-Webb had four players finish in double-figures scoring, led by Dominique Hudson's 17 points.  Roundtree and Monique Hudson added 13 apiece for the Lady Bulldogs.  The Lady Flames shot 59.6 percent (28-of-47) from the field and outscored Gardner-Webb in the paint, 44-28.  The Lady Bulldogs shot 38.6 percent for the game, including 53.6 percent on 15-of-28 in the second half.

Joining Brown on the All-Tournament team were teammate Mays, Gardner-Webb's Roundtree and Dominique Hudson, High Point's Shamia Brown and Winthrop's Shanice Cole.

Liberty (27-5) clinches its 13th Big South Tournament crown in 14 seasons, and moves to 13-for-13 in title game appearances.  Lady Flames head coach Carey Green captures his 10th Conference Tournament title in 11 seasons as Liberty's coach and is now 30-1 all-time in the Big South Tournament.  The Lady Flames will make their 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament.  Gardner-Webb (28-4) will now prepare for postseason play, learning their fate on Monday.