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FIRST ROUND WIN: Williams Leads Old Dominion Past Liberty, 82-62

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: March 23, 2008
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March 23, 2008

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP)--For a change, Old Dominion wasn't such a gracious host.

Shahida Williams scored 20 points on 10-for-11 shooting Sunday night and the Lady Monarchs ended their six-game losing streak in the NCAA tournament with a 82-62 victory against Liberty in the first round of the Greensboro regional.

The fifth-seeded Lady Monarchs (30-4), winners of an NCAA-record 17 consecutive Colonial Athletic Association titles, had lost five first-round games in a row, including two in their own Constant Convocation Center under their three national champion banners.

But Williams dominated inside and Jazzmin Walters hit three long 3-pointers, the last to spark a 15-0 first-half run that the undermanned Lady Flames couldn't answer, especially not with a partisan crowd spurring on the Lady Monarchs.

Walters finished with 12 points and nine assists for the Lady Monarchs, and Jessica Canady scored 14, all in the second half. Megan Pym had seven blocked shots.

Megan Frazee led Liberty (28-4) with 19 points, Rachel McLeod had 11 and Molly Frazee 10.

Old Dominion, on a five-game win streak, will face either fourth-seeded Virginia or 13th-seeded UC Santa Barbara in the second round Tuesday night.

Liberty (28-4), in the tournament for the 11th time in 12 years, came in having won only two tournament games, both in 2005 when it reached the regional semifinals.

But the Lady Flames lost Rebecca Lightfoot and second-leading scorer Moriah Frazee to season-ending right knee injuries in recent weeks, and their seven regulars were no match for the waves of fresh bodies Old Dominion's coaches kept sending into the game.

Liberty actually led early, 19-14, before Walters hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key. A 15-footer by Williams and a 3-pointer by T.J. Jordan followed, and the Lady Flames 0-for-5 shooting drought and two turnovers only fueled the home team surge.

The Monarchs led 29-19 before Liberty scored again, and it was 44-30 at the half. The Lady Flames cloosed to within 12 twice in the second half, but got no closer.

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