KK Barbour tallied a season-high six points and a season-high six rebounds against Central Arkansas on Monday.
Central Arkansas used decisive advantages in rebounds (46-37) and points in the paint (34-16) to key a 61-41 victory over Liberty in the opening game of the Rae & Craig Blair Memorial Tournament, Monday afternoon at the UTSA Convocation Center.
Kierra Jordan (9 points, season-high 13 rebounds) and Raquel Logan (8 points, 12 rebounds) spearheaded the Sugar Bears' interior attack, as Central Arkansas improves to 7-2 on the season. The 2016 NCAA Tournament participant also got a game-high 12 points from Maggie Proffitt and 10 more from Taylor Baudoin.
Liberty, which never led during the contest, drops to 1-7 on the year. The Lady Flames were outrebounded for the first time in six outings and committed 22 turnovers, leading to 21 Central Arkansas points.
The Lady Flames' early-season shooting woes continued against one of the nation's leading defensive squads. Liberty shot 28.6 percent (14-of-49) from the field, 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from three-point range and 52.4 percent (11-of-21) from the foul line for the game.
Ola Makurat led the Lady Flames with nine points, matching her season high. Kierra Johnson-Graham chipped in eight points and eight rebounds. With leading scorer Keyen Green mired in foul trouble throughout the game, KK Barbour stepped up with season highs in both points (6) and rebounds (6). Nene Johnson also hit all three of her field goal attempts for six points.
Central Arkansas attempted all 10 of the first period's free throws and held Liberty to 23.5 percent (4-of-17) shooting from the field. The Lady Flames were able to keep it close by outrebounding the Sugar Bears, 14-9, during the first 10 minutes. UCA's advantage stood at four points (12-8) at the end of the first quarter.
A three-pointer by Iva Ilic and a driving layup by Johnson-Graham helped Liberty tie the score at 14-14 with 7:41 on the second-quarter clock. Central Arkansas answered with a 10-2 run, taking its largest lead of the first half (24-16) on Taylor Strickland's putback hoop at 1:00.
Makurat then closed out a seven-point opening half with a three-pointer on Liberty's next possession, cutting the Lady Flames' halftime deficit to 24-19.
During the first 20 minutes of play, Central Arkansas shot 30.4 percent (7-of-23) from the field, as compared with Liberty's 24.2 percent (8-of-33) effort. The two teams combined for 24 turnovers, including 13 by the Sugar Bears and 11 by the Lady Flames.
Central Arkansas' major first-half advantage came at the foul line, where the Sugar Bears went 9-of-16 for 56.3 percent while the Lady Flames were 1-of-5 for 20.0 percent.
Central Arkansas took the day's first double-digit lead (39-29) when Taylor Sells turned a steal into a fast break layup with 2:23 remaining in the third quarter. Johnson-Graham accounted for the game's next four points, trimming Liberty's deficit to 39-33 on two free throws at 1:11 to play. Baudoin then beat the third-quarter buzzer with a bank shot, sending UCA to the final period with a 41-33 lead. Barbour and Johnson-Graham scored six third-quarter points apiece for the Lady Flames.
Baudoin's hoop gave the Sugar Bears some momentum, as Central Arkansas opened the fourth quarter with six straight points. Logan's pair of free throws with 7:36 remaining put the UCA advantage at 47-33, capping off an 8-0 surge.
Central Arkansas led by double digits the rest of the way, as Proffitt helped keep the Lady Flames at bay. She shot just 4-of-18 on the day, but hit two triples and scored eight points during the final quarter for the Sugar Bears, sending UCA to victory in its inaugural meeting with the Lady Flames.
Liberty committed 11 turnovers after halftime, as compared with just three for Central Arkansas.
Two of Liberty's top statistics for the game included bench points (21-18) and blocked shots (season-high six).
All six of Barbour's rebounds came at the offensive end. However, the rest of the Lady Flames totaled just nine offensive boards, as Liberty was kept below 20 in the category for the first time in the last six outings.
Up Next Liberty and host UTSA will play the fourth and final game of the Rae & Craig Blair Memorial Tournament on Tuesday evening. The first-ever meeting between the Lady Flames and Roadrunners will tip off at approximately 7:15 p.m. Eastern.