LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty opened ASUN Conference play in impressive fashion, Saturday afternoon at Liberty Arena. Four Lady Flames scored in double figures, and Liberty tallied a season high for points in an 88-59 triumph over Lipscomb.
Liberty improves to 5-3 overall and 1-0 in the ASUN after posting season bests for field goal percentage (.533, 32-of-60), three-point field goal percentage (.500, 9-of-18) and rebound margin (+21). The Lady Flames have won four straight contests overall, seven consecutive ASUN Conference games and nine home games in a row.
Lipscomb falls to 3-4 on the season and 0-1 in ASUN play. The Bisons hoisted 39 three-point attempts but connected on just 10 of them for 25.6 percent, falling to 0-4 on the road this season and 0-6 all-time against the Lady Flames.
Box Score Highlights
Liberty Individuals: Mya Berkman – 18 points, 8-10 FG; Ashtyn Baker – 15 points; Dee Brown – 13 points, 4-5 3FG; Emily Lytle – 10 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists; Bella Smuda – 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks; Makaela Kestner – 9 rebounds.
Lipscomb Individuals: Jordan Peete – 12 points; Taylor Clark – 11 points; Jalyn Holcomb – 10 points, 3 assists; Jane Deason – 6 rebounds.
Key Team Stats: Lipscomb shot just 28.8 percent (19-of-66) from the floor. Liberty dished out 22 assists on 32 made baskets and has now recorded 20+ assists in all four of its games at Liberty Arena. Eleven different Lady Flames scored points, as the victors recorded 39 bench points.
Holcomb’s jumper at 7:28 of the second quarter finished off a 6-0 Lipscomb run, cutting the visitors’ deficit to 26-22. Liberty answered with 13 straight points, including 10 by Berkman within a span of 2:50. The Lady Flames’ lead remained in double figures the rest of the afternoon.
• Showing few signs of rust following a 17-day break from competition, Liberty shot 68.8 percent (11-of-16) during the first quarter, racing out to a 26-16 lead.
• The Lady Flames, who led by as many as 13 points during the opening stanza, scored 14 points in the paint during the first 10 minutes of play.
• Liberty’s aforementioned 13-0 run featured 10 of Berkman’s 18 first-half points. The Lady Flames took a 44-27 lead into the locker room after Brown banked in a shot from near half court as the buzzer sounded.
• After being limited to eight minutes of playing time in the first half due to foul trouble, Baker made up for lost time. The senior guard scored 10 points during the third quarter’s first 3:42, helping push Liberty’s lead over 20 points for the first time on the afternoon.
• Baker and Brown hit two triples apiece during the stanza, with one of Brown’s turning into the Lady Flames’ first four-point play of the season. Liberty’s lead stood at 30 (69-39) heading to the fourth quarter.
• Half of Lipscomb’s 10 made three-pointers during the game came in the fourth quarter, as the visitors outscored Liberty by a single point, 20-19.
• Smuda impressed for the Lady Flames during the final period, contributing six points, four rebounds and two blocks.
Notes and Nuggets
• All of Berkman’s season-high 18 points came during the first half. It was the most points the junior has ever scored in a single half, surpassing her 16-point first half during a career-high 21-point outburst at Kennesaw State on March 2, 2020. Berkman made her first eight field goal attempts to start the game.
• Prior to Saturday, Brown had totaled 20 points in her first seven games as a Lady Flame, shooting 1-of-8 from three-point range. Playing four days after her 21st birthday against Lipscomb, she scored 13 points in 18 minutes and knocked down 4-of-5 triples.
• Lytle set a career high with six assists, matching her number of field goal attempts in the contest.
• Smuda’s three blocked shots were a career high and the most by a Lady Flame in a game this season.
• Kestner collected a career-high nine rebounds, matching the Liberty Arena single-game record.
• Liberty’s 88 points were the team’s most in a game this season and the most the Lady Flames have ever scored in an ASUN Conference regular-season game.
• Liberty’s 29-point margin of victory was its largest ever in an ASUN game.
• The Lady Flames shot over 50 percent from the field for the first time this season and improved to 125-2 under Carey Green when making at least half of their field goals.
• Liberty Head Coach Carey Green missed just the third game of his 22-year coaching career at Liberty, due to a non COVID-19 related medical issue. Associate Head Coach Alexis Sherard served as acting head coach in his absence, as he did for Green’s two previous missed games (Jan. 17 and March 8, 2013).
• The Lady Flames were playing for the first time in 17 days, following COVID-19-related cancellations of their two previous contests (Dec. 19 vs. Belmont Abbey and Dec. 22 at William & Mary).
• Liberty tipped off conference play with a home game for the first time since Dec. 7, 2013, when the Lady Flames opened Big South Conference action with a 70-49 victory over Radford at the Vines Center.
• Saturday’s matinee was the 10th game in Liberty Arena history and the first ASUN Conference matchup ever played at the facility. The home team remains undefeated at Liberty Arena, including a 6-0 record for the Liberty men’s basketball team and a 4-0 mark for the Lady Flames. The Liberty men’s and women’s basketball squads have now won a combined 22 consecutive home games, dating back to Feb. 1, 2020.
Liberty and Lipscomb will square off at Liberty Arena again on Sunday, tipping off at 2 p.m. for the series finale. This will mark the first time the Lady Flames have ever faced the same opponent on back-to-back days and the first time they have played on consecutive days this season. Liberty will be in search of its first-ever 2-0 start in ASUN Conference play.
Date: Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021
Location: Lynchburg, Va. (Liberty Arena)
Radio: LFSN Radio (90.9 FM The Light Lynchburg)
Tipoff: 2 p.m.