HIGH POINT, N.C. - Behind Avery Warley's double-double of a career-high 28 points and 13 rebounds, the No. 1-seeded Liberty Flames defeated No. 4 seeded High Point Panthers, 76-55, in the Semifinals of the 2011 Advance Auto Parts Women's Basketball Championship on March 12 at the Millis Center on the campus of High Point University. The Lady Flames advance to Sunday's Championship Game and will play the winner of No. 3 seed Gardner-Webb/No. 7 seed Winthrop at 4:00pm live on the Big South Television Network.
Liberty (22-9) advances to the Big South title game for the fourth consecutive year and Conference record 14th time overall. Sunday's game will be broadcast live on Fox College Sports Atlantic, MASN, WCWG-TV (Greensboro/Winston-Salem) and WSET/RTV Channel 13.2 (Lynchburg/Roanoke).
Warley tallied her 18th double-double of the season, and scored her 1,000th career-point late in the second half. She was followed on the team by Jelena Antic, who had 16 points and seven rebounds. Leading the Panthers was Shamia Brown with 19 points, while Mackenzie Maier followed with 16 points. Panther guard Jurica Hargraves set a new High Point Division I record for career scoring, as she ends her career with 1,340 points.
The Lady Flames scored 54 of their 76 points in the paint, compared to High Point's 10, and out-rebounded the Panthers, 47-29. Liberty shot 49.2 percent (32-65) from the field, while HPU managed 35 percent (20-57).
The Lady Flames used their depth in the paint to start the game with an 18-9 lead after eight minutes, including a 14-2 run that featured eight points from Warley. A Shamia Brown jumper followed by a breakaway lay-in put some life back into the Panther offense as they closed the gap to within four, 22-18, with 7:17 remaining in the first half. High Point (16-15) kept fighting as it scored two-straight three pointers by Erin Reynolds and Maier to close within one, 25-24 at the 4:18 mark. But the Flames went on an 11-2 run to end the half with a 10-point advantage at 36-26.
Liberty had 24 of its 36 points in the paint, with Warley registering 14 points and six rebounds, including four offensive in the first half. Devon Brown followed with seven point and three rebounds. Maier and Shamia Brown led High Point with eight and seven points, respectively.
The Lady Flames started the second half with four quick points inside the lane before High Point's Maier got hot, as she hit two from beyond the arc followed by a Shamia Brown jumper to close the gap at 42-31. The teams continued to go back and forth until Liberty built up its lead with two separate runs -- 11-1 with 12:50 to go, and a 12-0 spurt with nearly six minutes remaining to eventually pull away.
Liberty now improves to 32-1 in the Big South Tournament under head coach Carey Green, and will look to capture its 14th Conference Championship on Sunday. The Flames have won their previous 13 title game appearances.
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green
"You never know what's going to happen this time of year. We came out with a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm. It was a total team effort as we had a lot of contributors. I am very pleased with our effort."
High Point Head Coach Tooey Loy
"It's never easy when the season ends, especially losing four great seniors. They are four great people who worked hard in the classroom and on the court. We just couldn't quite get it going tonight."