LYNCHBURG, Va. -- For the second straight game, Winthrop came out of the locker room flat and it led to the Eagles' second straight loss, as they fell at Liberty, 76-51, Saturday evening in Big South Conference action.
Winthrop struggled scoring for the second straight game after halftime. It took Winthrop nine minutes to score against Coastal Carolina last Wednesday. The Eagles managed five points over the first four minutes of the second half against Liberty and then went on a scoring drought that lasted just over seven minutes. Liberty fed off the Eagles' mistakes and cold shooting to go on a 13-0 run and lead 56-32.
It was the Eagles' 25th straight loss to Liberty as they fall to 14-8 on the season and 2-2 in the Big South. Liberty improves to 19-2 and 4-0 in the league.
"I always believe you tip your hat to the opponent," said Winthrop coach Bud Childers. "They have a good team, great size and played their zone very well tonight. Our first group didn't seem to be vested in the game tonight. I was really proud of our second team tonight. They went out there and played with a lot of heart."
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After Childers was not satisfied with the effort or performance of the starters, he made a complete change and got five bench players on the court. Liberty led 61-34 when Childers had all five bench players on the court, and that five managed to score 17 points over the final 8:51 of the game.
One of the top performances off the bench came from Shanice Cole, who was the only Winthrop player that scored in double figures with 10 points. She also had three rebounds.
"Liberty is a very good team," said Childers. "We might have been able to play our best game tonight and not win. The key was our turnovers tonight. Every time we turned it over, they seem to come right down and score."
Liberty took advantage of 12 second-half turnovers by Winthrop and turned them into 20 points. That helped the Flames shoot 59 percent from field in the second half and 51 percent for the game.
Winthrop fell behind by seven at halftime as Liberty overpowered the Eagles in the low post, scoring 18 points in the paint and connecting on 13-of-16 free throws. Liberty jumped to a 4-0 lead after back-to-back baskets inside by Megan and Moriah Frazee. Jennifer Walker scored the Eagles' first basket on a layup and the game remained close until midway through the half.