HIGH POINT, N.C. - Despite a game-high 20-point performance by the 2011-12 Big South Freshman of the Year Shonese Jones, the No. 8 seeded UNC Asheville women's basketball team could not slow down the high-powered attack of the No. 1 seeded Liberty Flames, as the Bulldogs fell 71-50 in the opening round of the 2012 Advance Auto Parts Big South Championship.
"Liberty has a great tradition and they're playing for a championship every year," said Asheville head coach Betsy Blose. "They came out with a sense of urgency early on and Avery Warley was beast on the boards today. Our kids battled back but it was just too big a deficit to overcome."
Jones led all players in scoring on 8-of-18 shooting, connecting on three treys in the contest. Senior Lindsey Thompson scored 11 for Asheville, as the senior from Copper Hill, Va., finishes her career with 1,078 points wearing the Blue & White.
Asheville drops to 7-23 overall on the year while Liberty improves to 22-8, and moves on to face the winner of Campbell and Charleston Southern on Saturday.
First team All-Conference performer Avery Warley led the Flames with 17 points, finishing the day with a double-double (13 rebounds). Danika Dale scored 10 for Liberty with Catherine Kearney contributing 10 points of the bench.
As a team the Flames shot 41.0 percent on the day, while also out-rebounding the Bulldogs 48-26. The Flames dominated the paint, outscoring Asheville 32-14 in the paint.
In the first half the Bulldogs were paced by Shonese Jones, who scored eight points in the frame. Lindsey Thompson posted seven points to the Asheville total, as Jones and Thompson accounted for 15 of the Bulldogs' 20 first-half points. Liberty led 36-20 at the break.
In the second half the Bulldogs came out and scored four points quickly to cut the Liberty lead to 12 points, but the Flames would go on a 7-0 run to quiet the Asheville momentum.
Asheville would pull to within 17 at 65-48 with 2:20 to go, but Liberty would finish the game on a 6-2 run to seal the win.
With the loss the Bulldogs finish the season 0-16 away from the friendly confines of Kimmel Arena. Asheville went 7-7 at Kimmel, with a loss at Justice Center against Campbell on March 2, and the loss to Liberty at the Millis Center, a neutral site.