Women's Basketball

Buccaneers unable to put out the Flames in conference opener

Buccaneers unable to put out the Flames in conference opener

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern's fourth quarter comeback effort fell short as the Buccaneers were topped by Liberty in their conference opener on Tuesday night, 81-72.

Rachel Burns scored a career-high 22 points, hitting nine field goals from the floor, including three from beyond the arc.  Ke'Asia Jackson was the only other Buccaneer to go double-digits, capturing her 14th point in the final second of the contest.  The Irmo, S.C., native earned her seventh perfect performance from the stripe, going a perfect 7-for-7 from the free-throw line.

Lela Sellers led Liberty with 21 points.  The freshman connected on a game-high four three-pointers and was perfect from the charity line, hitting all five of her attempts.  Nene Johnson (13), Audrey Rettstatt (10) and Keyen Green (10) also scored double-digits for the Flames.

Jackson got the Buccaneers (6-6, 0-1) going early, scoring CSU's first five points.  The Flames (2-10, 1-0) responded with a 7-0 scoring run, but Alyssa Mann fired back with a pair of jumpers and Burns added a bucket for six unanswered points to narrow the gap to 17-15.  Jackson put the Buccaneers within one point with a three-pointer at the buzzer, 19-18.

Burns gave the Bucs' their first lead in the contest with a three to open the second quarter and put CSU ahead, 21-19.  The advantage was short-lived as the Flames sunk three baskets from beyond the arc in the first four minutes. Shauntavia Dobson provided a spark off the bench with eight points over four minutes of play.  The 4-11 guard hit all three of her shots, including a pair of three-pointers, to cut Liberty's lead down to 40-38 at the end of the half.

The Flames utilized a 6-0 scoring run to build an eight-point lead in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Burns and Jackson again led the Bucs' comeback with Burns connecting on a three-pointer, while Jackson sank a pair of free throws to keep the game at 50-47. Sellers responded with a three-pointer for the Flames as Liberty held the 55-48 lead after three quarters.

Liberty's defense stifled the Buccaneers in the fourth period as the Flames controlled the battle of the boards with a 40-25 rebound advantage in the contest.  Liberty widened their lead to double-digits in the fourth quarter and went ahead by 14 points two separate times before a late CSU run at the end of the game. Georgia Elliott-King hit a late basket from the left short corner and Jackson closed out the contest with a layup at the buzzer in CSU's 81-72 defeat against their first conference opponent of the season.

The Buccaneers will head back on the road as they travel to Campbell to take on the Fighting Camels in a Saturday afternoon matchup.  Tipoff at Gore Arena is set for 2:00 p.m. on the Big South Network.

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