LYNCHBURG, Va. – Sophomore forward Ashley Rininger tallied a game-high 20 points while the Flames out-rebounded UNC Asheville by 20 en route to a 64-49 victory on Thursday evening at the Vines Center, as Liberty avenges an 83-80 overtime loss to the Bulldogs on Jan. 18.
The Flames out-rebounded the Bulldogs 48-28, scoring 21 second chance points in the process.
“Rebounding was key and Liberty did a good job of getting the ball to their players in the paint,” said Asheville head coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. “They got a lot of offensive rebounds and forced us to defend for 60 seconds at a time, which was a little bit deflating.”
With the win Liberty improves to 16-10 overall and 12-5 in the Big South while Asheville drops to 10-16 and 7-10 in conference.
Brittany Gwyn and Leah Wormack each tallied 10 points for the Bulldogs, with Shonese Jones chipping in eight. Ja’Da Brayboy tallied five assists for the second consecutive game to go along with four steals for the freshman.
Rininger had a double-double with 11 rebounds, with fellow Flame Katelyn Adams recording 13 points and 13 rebounds. Adams also had two blocks in the contest.
Liberty outscored Asheville 38-14 in the paint.
The first half saw the two teams trade points back and forth until the Flames went on a 9-0 run to take a 17-7 lead with 12:36 to go in the first. Leah Wormack scored the Bulldogs first six points, before Paige Love hit a free throw to get on the board.
After weathering the initial storm the Bulldogs fought back to cut the lead to 31-24 with 3:50 to go in the contest, with Jeannie Buckner hitting a pair of big 3-pointers and Ja’Da Brayboy completing an old-fashioned 3-point play on a fastbreak layup.
Shonese Jones hit a circus layup in the paint to cut the lead to five at 31-26 with just over three minutes to go, but Liberty would finish the frame strong by scoring on their last possession to close out the half with a 37-28 lead.
Liberty started the second half strong with an 8-1 run to push their lead to 45-29 with 15:52 to go in the contest. Asheville held the Flames to only three points over the next five minutes, cutting the lead to 48-35 with 10:56 to go.
Once again the Flames would respond, pushing their lead to 53-37 with 6:34 remaining. The Bulldogs cut the lead to 55-44 with 3:32 to go, but the Blue & White could get no closer as they fell by 15.
Asheville will look to get back on track on Saturday when the Bulldogs travel to High Point, N.C., to take on the Panthers in Big South play. Game time is set for 4 p.m. and can be heard on 880 AM the Revolution immediately following the UNC Asheville men’s game against Coastal Carolina.