RADFORD, Va. – The Radford women’s basketball program came up short in a tough battle Sunday afternoon with former Big South rivals Liberty 67-54. Ashley Panem caught on fire from deep nailing four three-pointers while Rachel LaLonde had another big day with her second double-double of the season.
Radford and Liberty came out of the gates trading punches back and forth, just like plenty of matchups over the 30 years the two programs spent together in the Big South. Ashlyn Traylor got another double-digit scoring performance started with two makes in the paint for an early lead, but the Flames immediately responded both times to keep it even.
After Liberty pulled ahead 7-4 with a three-pointer, Olivia Wagner answered with a three of her own and then LaLonde kept the line moving with another three-pointer to make it a 10-9 Radford advantage. A 7-2 run gave Liberty an edge, but LaLonde clawed back by nailing another three-pointer that kept Radford close as the team trailed 20-15 headed into the second quarter.
Opening the second quarter was Panem who hit her first three-pointer of the game and first after missing a game earlier this week due to injury. A 9-0 run by the Flames stalled the Highlanders before Carmen Williams ended the run with a smooth jumper with 3:56 left to go in the half. The Flames kept on hitting in the paint, growing their lead eventually to 34-22 headed into halftime.
In the second half the Highlanders didn’t back down, slowly chipping away at the deficit. A Traylor three-pointer got the scoring started and back-to-back layups by Wagner got Radford within eight with 6:12 to go in the third. Liberty would end the quarter on an 8-2 run however, keeping their lead at 46-32 with just ten minutes to go.
In the fourth quarter Radford found an offensive surge thanks to a trio of three-pointers by Panem. Traylor drew a critical and-one late and was perfect from the free throw line over the final five minutes, but the late run wouldn’t be enough as Liberty held on to win 67-54.
PANEM SETS NEW CAREER HIGH
With the quartet of three-pointers today by Panem, the Broomfield, Co. native set new career-highs in points and shots made. Panem showed no rust coming off an injury she felt in a game against UNC Wilmington not long ago, playing in another season-high 19 minutes as well. The 12 points today were the highest between both teams for players playing off the bench.
BEAT GOES ON FOR LALONDE
LaLonde, one of the few players nearing totals for an average of a double-double on the season in the Big South, continued her impressive beat this season. The senior leader marked a double-double for the second time this season with 10 rebounds and 12 points. Her pair of three-pointers in the first quarter were vital in going punch to punch with Flames and her presence on the boards was impressive against some large competition.
The four-game stretch inside the Dedmon Center for the Highlanders has come to a close and the Highlanders will not return home again until they open up Big South play at the end of December. After a week off, Radford will hit the road to face new Division I member Queens (NC) on December 15th with tip set for 7 p.m. in Charlotte, N.C..
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