2:00 PM ET, March 16, 2008
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Courtney Watkins didn't want to end her career without capturing another Big South Championship, and Megan Frazee wouldn't let her go out empty handed.Watkins scored all 16 of her points in the second half, and Frazee hit the game-winning basket with 0.3 seconds left to help Liberty continue its league dominance with a 66-65 win over Radford on Sunday."[Courtney's] a senior leader and captain," Liberty coach Carey Green said. "I'm sure she wanted to finish personally and collectively the best she possibly could."Frazee, the tournament's most outstanding player, scored 26 points, including the game-winning basket with 0.3 seconds left for the Flames (28-3) which has gone 137-23 in Big South play the last 12 years."We knew what we wanted to do," Frazee said. "It happened to go our way and we're just blessed. You can't ever count us out."Watkins and fellow senior Allyson Fasnacht sparked the second-half surge. The duo made back-to-back three-point plays and gave the Flames the confidence they needed."I hit that and-one play and [Allyson] hit the and-one play and that really got our team pumped up," Watkins said. "Allyson told me right before the game that this was our last chance and I just went out there and did what I could to get the win."At least one of the two teams has advanced to the Big South tournament championship game in each of the 22 years of the conference's existence, but this was the first meeting between the schools in the title game. The teams have combined to win 20 of the 22 league championships."Both teams made plays late which is what conference championship games are all about," Radford coach Jeri Porter said. "I think we gave everybody what they were looking for in this match-up."Liberty trailed 63-57 after a basket from Kelli Darden with under three minutes to play, but limited Radford to just one basket the rest of the way. Frazee and Watkins each made 3-pointers to tie the game before Frazee hit the clincher.The Highlanders led 32-23 after halftime after holding Liberty to just 24 percent shooting in the first half. Liberty retaliated with an 11-2 run early in the second half to cut the gap to 39-38."I don't think you can ever count us out," Fasnacht said. "We worked on situationals with different scenarios, but especially with how good of shooters we are, we're never out of it. It just shows how much heart we have."The Flames took the lead for the first time on back-to-back three-point plays. Watkins tied the score at 44, and Fasnacht gave them the lead with 11:01 left. Radford reclaimed the lead and stretched their edge to four points on a basket from Corrie Fertitta.Watkins added 16 points, all in the second half, while Molly Frazee, another of the Frazee triplets, added 13 points as Liberty equaled the school and conference record for victories.Darden scored 21 points to pace the Highlanders, but was held to just eight points in the second half and lost for the second straight season in the conference championship game."It's very hard," Darden said, "especially with it being my last year. With five seconds left, I was thinking I was going to be the one wearing the hat and t-shirt and wearing the ring and then everything went totally opposite.Liberty will learn its fate Monday night when the NCAA selections are announced. "Across the country, I just don't feel like the conference will get the respect we deserve," Green said. "I'd be excited with an 11 seed, but a 12 is what they'll probably give us."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||19-51 (.373)||23-60 (.383)|
|3P Made-Attempted||7-19 (.368)||5-21 (.238)|
|FT Made-Attempted||20-26 (.769)||15-18 (.833)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||16 (0/0)||17 (0/0)|