Bridgette Rettstatt scored 13 of her career-high 15 points during the first half of Saturday's matchup with Charlotte.
Charlotte's Octavia Jett-Wilson scored a team-high 18 points, headlined by a layup with 37 seconds remaining which produced the back-and-forth game's eighth and final lead change. The 49ers then hit 6-of-8 free throws during the final 15 seconds to hold off Liberty 63-61 on the opening day of the Christmas City Classic, Saturday at Lehigh's Stabler Arena.
In a game where neither team owned a lead larger than five points, Charlotte (3-1) pulled out the victory by shooting 52.3 percent (23-of-44) from the field and 43.8 percent (7-of-16) from three-point range. The 49ers advance to meet host Lehigh (5-1) in Sunday's championship game at 4:30 p.m.
Liberty drops to 1-4 on the year despite a game-high 19 points and four triples by Emily Lytle and a career-high 15 points from Bridgette Rettstatt. The Lady Flames will meet Commonwealth foe Norfolk State (2-4) Sunday at 2 p.m. in the consolation game.
Box Score Highlights Liberty Individuals: Emily Lytle – 19 points, 4-7 3FG; Bridgette Rettstatt – 15 points, 5 rebounds; Ashtyn Baker – 7 points, 3 steals; Ria Gulley – 5 assists
Charlotte Individuals: Octavia Jett-Wilson – 18 points, 4 assists; Laia Raventos – 15 points, 4 assists, 4 steals; Mariah Linney – 13 points
Key Team Stats: Charlotte overcame a two-point halftime deficit by shooting 63.2 percent (12-of-19) from the field and 66.7 percent (4-of-6) from beyond the arc during the final 20 minutes. The 49ers also outrebounded the Lady Flames 32-24. Charlotte committed seven more turnovers than the Lady Flames (22-15), leading to 18 Liberty points.
Turning Point Emily Lytle's fourth three-pointer of the game came with 1:08 remaining in the fourth period, giving the Lady Flames a one-point edge (56-55) heading into the final minute of play.
Octavia Jett-Wilson countered with a layup late in the shot clock on the 49ers' ensuing possession, and the Conference USA squad never trailed again.
Charlotte collected all four available rebounds the rest of the way, including one by Ka'Neeshia Brown on Ashtyn Baker's missed free throw with 0.9 seconds remaining and Liberty trailing by two.
Game Summary First Quarter • Liberty took a pair of five-point leads (9-4 and 14-9) during an opening period where it shot 54.5 percent (6-of-11) and got seven points from Bridgette Rettstatt.
Second Quarter • Rettstatt broke the third tie of the second quarter, scoring a layup with 52 seconds remaining off of a Tatyana Crowder steal to send the Lady Flames into the intermission with a 30-28 edge.
• Rettstatt led all players with 13 points in the first half, matching her previous career high for a game.
Third Quarter • Olivia Jett-Wilson sparked a 10-2 49ers run with a pair of three-pointers.
• The surge briefly gave Charlotte a three-point (42-39) cushion before Emily Lytle's three-pointer deadlocked the score at 42 apiece at the end of the stanza.
Fourth Quarter • Lytle scored 12 points and nailed three triples during the fourth quarter, including a game-tying trifecta with 4:26 to play and her aforementioned shot at the 1:08 mark.
• Charlotte, which had shot only 3-of-10 from the foul line through three quarters, made 7-of-10 from the charity stripe during the final 10 minutes. The 49ers also outrebounded the Lady Flames by a 9-2 count during the period.
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green Quotes "The difference was what we didn't do on the boards. Overall, the girls played well enough and hard enough to make some positive things happen. We outscored them in the paint, committed fewer turnovers than they did and shot a better free throw percentage. The difference in the game was made free throws and some critical ones right there at the end."
Notes and Nuggets • Emily Lytle has scored in double figures in five straight games to open her Liberty career and is shooting 50 percent (16-of-32) from three-point range this season.
• Lytle has recorded back-to-back big fourth quarters. After scoring a program-record 14 points during the fourth period of Wednesday's loss at Chattanooga, Lytle tallied a dozen fourth-quarter points today.
• Bridgette Rettstatt's 15 points set a new career high.
• Ria Gulley dished out a season-high five assists for the second straight game, pacing all players.
• Liberty is now 0-4 all-time against Charlotte, and all four setbacks have come by 10 points or fewer.
• Liberty has been outrebounded in back-to-back games for the first time since Nov. 12, 2017 at No. 24/23 Michigan and Nov. 17, 2017 at Drake.
Up Next Liberty will square off against its second MEAC opponent of the young season when the Lady Flames meet Norfolk State Sunday at 2 p.m. Liberty is 7-0 all-time against the Spartans, but the two teams have not faced one another since Nov. 11, 2006.
Date: Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018 Location: Bethlehem, Pa. (Stabler Arena) TV: None Radio: LFSN Radio (90.9 FM The Light Lynchburg) Tipoff: 2 p.m.