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Johnson-Graham Keys Liberty's 77-60 Comeback Win at Lipscomb

January 29, 2019  Nashville, Tenn.  RSS
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Kierra Johnson-Graham contributed a career-high 20 points, 12 rebounds and five assists to the Lady Flames' 77-60 victory on Tuesday.

Kierra Johnson-Graham contributed a career-high 20 points, 12 rebounds and five assists to the Lady Flames' 77-60 victory on Tuesday.

Hot-shooting Lipscomb raced out to an early 13-point advantage, Tuesday evening versus Liberty at Allen Arena. Kierra Johnson-Graham (career-high 20 points, 12 rebounds, five assists) then spearheaded the Lady Flames' comeback as the visitors turned things around for a 77-60 triumph.

Liberty improves to 8-12 overall and 4-3 in ASUN play, climbing into fourth place in the conference standings. The Lady Flames have now won four games in a row, with three of the victories coming on the road. On Tuesday, Liberty outscored the Bisons 50-27 during the middle two quarters.

Conversely, Lipscomb drops to 2-18 overall and 0-7 in the ASUN with its 17th consecutive setback. After their hot start, the Bisons shot just 21.4 percent (6-of-28) in the second half and were outrebounded by the Lady Flames 46-26 during the contest.

Box Score Highlights
Other Liberty Individuals: Emily Lytle – 19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 three-pointers; KK Barbour – 12 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists; Bridgette Rettstatt – 6 points, 7 rebounds.

Lipscomb Individuals: Taylor Clark – 18 points, 3 three-pointers; Jane Deason – 13 points, 3 three-pointers; Emily Kmec – 12 points, 3 three-pointers; Carleigh Short – 11 points.

Key Team Stats: Liberty shot 49.2 percent (30-of-61) for the game, aided by 38 points in the paint. The Lady Flames recorded a season-high 25 assists on 30 made field goals. Lipscomb shot 10-of-34 (29.4 percent) from beyond the arc, but only 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) after halftime. Liberty's 18 offensive rebounds led to 16 second-chance points.

Turning Point
Lipscomb nailed eight three-pointers during the game's first 12:13 to build a 28-15 lead early in the second quarter.

The Bisons did not hit another triple during the opening half, while Liberty took control of the game on the interior. The Lady Flames racked up 16 points in the paint during the second quarter, with Kierra Johnson-Graham personally outscoring Lipscomb 11-9 over the period's final 7:27.

As a result, Liberty took a two-point lead into halftime and carried that momentum into the second half.

Game Summary
First Quarter
• Lipscomb made five triples during the first quarter, opening up a nine-point lead before taking a 17-10 advantage through the first 10 minutes of play.

• Liberty struggled at the offensive end to start the game, making only 23.5 percent (4-of-17) of its field goals and missing all six of its three-point tries during the opening stanza.

Second Quarter
• Emily Kmec connected on three triples during the first 2:13 of the second period, pushing the Lipscomb lead to 13 points (28-15).

• Liberty then outscored the Bisons 24-9 over the remainder of the half, including a 13-1 burst at one point.

• Kierra Johnson-Graham, who opened the 13-1 run with six straight points, scored 13 of her 15 first-half tallies during the Lady Flames' 29-point session. As a result, Liberty owned a 39-37 edge at the intermission.

Third Quarter
• Liberty broke the game open by outscoring the Bisons 21-7 during the third quarter, extending its lead to 60-44 heading to the final 10 minutes.

• Reigning ASUN Player and Newcomer of the Week Emily Lytle single-handedly matched Lipscomb's scoring output with seven third-quarter points, as the Bisons hit only 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from the floor.

Fourth Quarter
• After committing only nine turnovers during the game's first three periods, Liberty had six of them in the fourth quarter, leaving the door open for a possible Lipscomb comeback. The Bisons were back within 10 (66-56) after Jane Deason's driving layup with 3:17 to play.

• Emily Lytle then closed the door with a three-point play and a triple during Liberty's ensuing 7-0 run. The Lady Flames went on to wrap up a 17-point victory, marking their largest winning margin in an ASUN game.

Liberty Head Coach Carey Green Quotes
"Lipscomb was hungry for a win, and we had to wake up. We certainly had to make some adjustments after the first quarter. There are times that we went with Kierra at small forward to use our bigs, and she finished with a double-double. I was concerned about our legs and fatigue. My assistants did a great job getting our team prepared."

Notes and Nuggets
• Kierra Johnson-Graham's 20 points shattered her previous career high of 14. She also matched career highs for rebounds (12) and assists (5) during her first double-double of the season and the second of the junior's career.

• Emily Lytle scored in double figures for the fourth straight game and 13th time this season, with 13 of her 19 points coming in the second half. Lytle recorded the Lady Flames' first four-point play of the season during the second quarter.

• After being held to 17 total points during Liberty's first three ASUN games, Lytle is now averaging 18.3 ppg during the Lady Flames' current four-game conference winning streak.

• KK Barbour reached double digits in the scoring column for the fourth consecutive outing and added a career-high seven assists.

• Bridgette Rettstatt was held under the 10-point mark (6 points) for the first time in ASUN play, snapping the sophomore's six-game streak of scoring in double figures.

• Freshman post players Amy West (6 points) and Lizzie Moore (4 points) both set new career scoring highs.

• Liberty's 25 assists were the most by the Lady Flames since a 29-assist effort against Longwood on Jan. 26, 2013.

• Liberty closes the month of January with a 5-3 record, improving to 140-24 all-time in January contests under Carey Green.

Up Next
Liberty will tip off a four-game homestand at the Vines Center Saturday at 2 p.m. when NJIT (5-15, 2-5 ASUN) visits Lynchburg for the first time.  

Date: Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019
Location: Lynchburg, Va. (Vines Center)
Tipoff: 2 p.m.
TV: ESPN+
Radio: LFSN Radio (90.9 FM The Light Lynchburg)