Liberty’s win streak reaches 10 with 78-46 triumph over Jacksonville

Liberty (11-3, 7-0 ASUN) scored the game’s first eight points and never trailed

Liberty University basketball (WSLS)

LYNCHBURG, Va. – For the 10th straight game, Liberty won by 10 points or more, Saturday afternoon against Jacksonville inside Liberty Arena. The Lady Flames’ final 32-point margin of victory (78-46) marked their largest ever in an ASUN Conference game.

Liberty (11-3, 7-0 ASUN) scored the game’s first eight points and never trailed. The Lady Flames, who have yet to trail in a Saturday ASUN matchup this season, shot 53.2 percent (33-of-62) and scored a season-high 48 points in the paint during Head Coach Carey Green’s return to the sidelines. Green had missed the previous six games due to injury and a positive COVID-19 test.

Jacksonville falls to 2-8 overall and 0-5 in the ASUN with its fifth straight loss overall and its fifth consecutive setback in the Dolphins’ head-to-head series with the Lady Flames. JU matched its lowest point total of the season and shot a season-low 26.7 percent (16-of-60) from the field. Leading scorer Erin Wilson, who entered the game averaging 19.5 ppg, was held to two points on the afternoon.

Box Score Highlights

Liberty Individuals: Bella Smuda – 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocked shots; Emily Lytle – 11 points, 5 rebounds; Ashtyn Baker – 11 points; Mya Berkman – 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists; Bridgette Rettstatt – 8 points.

Jacksonville Individuals: Khalela Hayes – 13 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals; DeShari Graham – 13 points, 3 assists, 4 steals.

Key Team Stats: Liberty’s three triples made equaled a season low, but the Lady Flames shot 30-of-44 (68.2 percent) from inside the arc. Liberty won the rebounding battle, 42-37. The Dolphins grabbed 16 offensive boards, but they led to only three second-chance points. The Lady Flames scored 23 points off Jacksonville’s 18 turnovers and tripled up the visitors in bench points (39-13).

Turning Point

Nenna Lindstrom nailed a three-pointer from the corner with 14 seconds left in the first quarter, halting Jacksonville’s 8-0 run which had trimmed the Liberty lead to two.

The Lady Flames carried that momentum into the second quarter, beginning the stanza with a 10-1 surge, where post players Bridgette Rettstatt, Bella Smuda and Mya Berkman scored all of the points. Berkman’s layup 3:58 before halftime capped off the extended surge with Liberty now in front by a 26-12 count. The home team’s lead remained in double figures the rest of the way.

Game Summary

First Quarter• Liberty opened up a 13-3 lead to begin the matinee as Jacksonville missed nine of its first 10 field goal attempts.

• The Dolphins pulled within two (13-11) after an 8-0 run, before Lindstrom’s corner triple closed the first quarter with Liberty on top, 16-11.

Second Quarter• Jacksonville misfired on its first 13 field goal attempts to open the second period, during which time Liberty fashioned its aforementioned 10-1 run to open a 26-12 advantage.

• By halftime, the Lady Flames’ lead had reached 18 points (38-20). Liberty shot 53.1 percent (17-of-32) during the opening half, compare with just 21.2 percent (7-of-33) for the Dolphins.

Third Quarter• Nine different Lady Flames scored points in the third quarter. Liberty took two different 35-point leads (60-25 and 62-27) during the stanza before carrying a 62-33 cushion into the final period.

Fourth Quarter• Liberty outscored Jacksonville 16-13 during the final period, with 12 of the Lady Flames’ points coming from inside the paint and the other four from the foul line. The Lady Flames’ 32-point margin of victory was their largest since a 73-36 triumph over Longwood on Feb. 27, 2018 at the Vines Center.

Notes and Nuggets

•Smuda led the Lady Flames in both points (12) and rebounds (8) for the first time in her young career. She has now scored in double figures in two of her last three outings.

• Playing one day after her 22nd birthday, Baker tallied her third straight double-digit scoring effort and her 10th of the season. She is now 26 points shy of 1,000 for her career.

• Lytle scored in double digits for the eighth time in nine games and is 41 points away from 1,000 herself.

• Rettstatt was held to single digits in the scoring column for the first time in six career meetings with Jacksonville, finishing with eight points. Her lone rebound moved her into a tie for 20th place with Lil Cooper on Liberty’s career rebounding list. The senior has now tallied 578 caroms.

• Playing her third game as a Lady Flame, Priscilla Smeenge posted season highs for points (6) and rebounds (4).

• The Lady Flames improved to 126-2 under Carey Green when shooting 50 percent or better from the field, including 2-0 this season.

• Liberty’s last streak of 10+ wins by 10+ points each was an 11-game streak spanning Jan. 15-Feb. 23, 2008.

• Liberty remains unbeaten at Liberty Arena, improving to 8-0 at its new home. The Liberty men’s basketball team is also 8-0 at Liberty Arena thus far.

• The Lady Flames have won 13 straight home games overall, 13 consecutive ASUN Conference games and 15 straight meetings with ASUN opponents. The ASUN streaks began with a 65-59 win at Jacksonville on Feb. 10, 2020.

Up Next

Liberty and Jacksonville will wrap up their two-game weekend series Sunday at Liberty Arena, with tipoff scheduled for 2 p.m.