Liberty led by 14 points early in the second half before Appalachian State roared back for a 66-57 victory, Tuesday evening at the Vines Center.
The Lady Flames owned a 37-23 advantage 49 seconds after halftime. However, the visiting Mountaineers forced 12 Liberty turnovers the rest of the way, spurring a 43-20 game-ending surge.
Liberty's bench scored 31 points, paced by the duo of Iva Ilic (10 points) and Molly Reagan (nine points, six rebounds, three blocks). However, the Lady Flames dropped to 0-3 with their fourth straight home loss, dating back to last season.
Joi Jones tallied 10 of her game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter, leading Appalachian State to a 2-1 start to the season. The Mountaineers have now defeated back-to-back Big South opponents, following a Saturday triumph over Gardner-Webb.
Aided by an early 7-0 run, Liberty led for most of the first quarter. One of six Lady Flames to score during the opening 10 minutes, Keyen Green made a putback at the buzzer to give Liberty a 17-14 edge.
The Lady Flames added to their lead during the second quarter by holding the Mountaineers to 8.3 percent (1-of-12) shooting from the field. Ilic scored five points during an 8-1 surge which sent Liberty to the intermission with a 32-23 lead.
Liberty's key stats during the first half were rebounding (30-18 advantage) and bench points (18-1 edge). The Lady Flames were led in both points (7 – Ilic) and rebounds (7- Kierra Johnson-Graham) by reserves in the first 20 minutes of play.
Liberty scored five points in 49 seconds to start the third quarter, pushing its advantage to 37-23. But the visiting Mountaineers outscored the Lady Flames by a 19-5 count during the remainder of the period, helped by seven Liberty turnovers. Jones beat the third quarter buzzer with a jumper, sending the two teams to the fourth deadlocked, 42-42.
Appalachian State continued its momentum into the fourth quarter, hitting three triples during a 15-4 run to open the stanza. Liberty closed to within six on two occasions, but could get no closer in its first home meeting with the Mountaineers since Feb. 4, 1989.
The two teams shot almost exactly the same percentage from the field, as Liberty made 35.4 percent (23-of-65) while Appalachian State hit 35.7 percent (20-of-56) of its attempts.
The Mountaineers' big advantages came at the free throw line (23-of-37, as compared with Liberty's 7-of-14) and in points off turnovers (21-6).
The Lady Flames outrebounded their guests by a 49-38 count, including 21 offensive boards. Johnson-Graham paced all players with a season-high eight boards.
Up Next Liberty will take to the road for the first time in 2016-17, traveling to Valparaiso on Nov. 25 for a 6 p.m. Eastern tipoff. The Lady Flames have never faced the Crusaders on the hardwood, but are certainly familiar with the program.
Valparaiso Head Coach Tracey Dorow is the sister of Liberty Assistant Coach Andy Bloodworth. One of Dorow's assistants is former Liberty standout Megan (Frazee) Leuzinger.