Kierra Johnson-Graham scored a career-high 14 points at Chattanooga on Wednesday.
Three-point shooting and strong first-half defense propelled host Chattanooga to a 75-60 victory over Liberty, Wednesday at McKenzie Arena.
The Mocs shot 50 percent (9-of-18) from the three-point line and limited the Lady Flames to 17 first-half points, moving to 3-2 on the season. Despite 21 points from Emily Lytle and a career-high 14 points by Kierra Johnson-Graham, Liberty played from behind all night and drops to 1-3.
Box Score Highlights Liberty Individuals: Emily Lytle – 21 points (19 in second half), 4-9 3FG, 6 rebounds, 4 assists; Kierra Johnson-Graham – 14 points, 6 rebounds; Ria Gulley – 5 assists, 0 turnovers
Chattanooga Individuals: Eboni Williams – 15 points, 8-10 FT; Mya Long – 13 points, 3-4 3FG; Lakelyn Bouldin – 11 points, 3-5 3FG; Shelbie Davenport – 10 points, 5 rebounds
Key Team Stats: Chattanooga shot well from the field (46.3 percent, 25-of-54), three-point range (50 percent, 9-of-18) and foul line (80 percent, 16-of-20). The Mocs became the first opposing team this season to outrebound Liberty (36-30) and the first opposing team to outscore the Lady Flames in bench points (45-25).
Turning Point Chattanooga set the tone for the teams' first-ever head-to-head meeting during the first four minutes of the game. The Mocs held the Lady Flames without a field goal and connected on a pair of triples during a game-opening 12-2 surge. Liberty never got closer than six points down the rest of the evening.
Game Summary First Quarter • Liberty missed its first six field goal attempts to start the game, allowing Chattanooga to jump out to an early 12-2 advantage.
• The Mocs maintained the lead throughout the opening 10 minutes, sparked by a trio of Lakelyn Bouldin three-pointers and five Liberty turnovers.
Second Quarter • The Lady Flames managed only four points in the second quarter, shooting 14.3 percent (2-of-14) from the field and committing six turnovers.
• Chattanooga owned a 20-point (37-17) halftime cushion after limiting Liberty to its lowest-scoring quarter (4) and half (17) of the season to date. The Mocs got 16 points in the paint and 16 bench points prior to halftime.
Third Quarter • Mya Long helped the Mocs extend to a 56-31 lead through three quarters of play, nailing three triples during the stanza.
Fourth Quarter • Liberty shot 68.8 percent (11-of-16) during the fourth period, including 80 percent (4-of-5) from beyond the arc, scoring nearly half (29 of 60) of its points during the session. Emily Lytle tallied 14 points in the final period, setting a new Liberty record for most points in a quarter.
• Chattanooga withstood the Lady Flames' late push by hitting 8-of-12 fourth quarter free throws.
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green Quotes "We dug ourselves a hole. I'm really disappointed with our effort at the very beginning and our lack of focus. Our opportunities were stifled by turning the ball over and missing some easy shots. That's not a good combination."
Notes and Nuggets • Playing in her home state, Emily Lytle scored in double figures in a fourth straight game to begin her Liberty career, including her second 20-point outing.
• Lytle's 14-point fourth quarter eclipsed the previous program record of 13 points in a quarter, co-held by Mickayla Sanders (Jan. 2, 2016 at Radford) and Audrey Rettstatt (Jan. 24, 2017 at Radford).
• Lytle also established season highs for rebounds (6) and assists (4).
• Kierra Johnson-Graham's 14 points topped the junior's previous career high of 13. She is averaging 13.0 ppg and 7.5 rpg in the last two outings.
• Melis Ucar equaled her career high of five points.
• Ria Gulley dished out a team-high and season-high five assists and hit her lone free throw attempt on a night the Lady Flames struggled as a team (45.5 percent, 5-of-11). Gulley has hit 11 straight foul shots and is shooting 94.1 percent (16-of-17) for the year.
• Wednesday's game marked the first-ever meeting between Liberty and Chattanooga.
• Liberty played its first game at McKenzie Arena since facing LSU there in the Sweet 16 round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
Up Next Liberty will head to Bethlehem, Pa., for this weekend's Christmas City Classic. The Lady Flames will meet Charlotte (2-1) Saturday at 4:30 p.m., following a 2 p.m. contest between tournament host Lehigh and Norfolk State.
Saturday's two losing teams will match up Sunday at 2 p.m., with the two winning teams squaring off Sunday at 4:30 p.m. for the championship.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018 Location: Bethlehem, Pa. (Stabler Arena) TV: None Radio: LFSN Radio (90.9 FM The Light Lynchburg) Tipoff: 4:30 p.m.