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Virginia Tech Hangs On to Edge Liberty, 73-69

November 15, 2019  Blacksburg, Va.  RSS
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Ashtyn Baker scored nine points during the Lady Flames' 73-69 loss at Virginia Tech on Friday.

Ashtyn Baker scored nine points during the Lady Flames' 73-69 loss at Virginia Tech on Friday.

Trailing Virginia Tech by 14 points late in the third quarter, Liberty roared back to cut its deficit to one. However, the Hokies' Aisha Sheppard grabbed a key offensive rebound and hit two free throws with 10.4 seconds left to clinch her team's 73-69 victory, Friday at Cassell Coliseum.

Sheppard scored nine of her team-high 20 points during the fourth quarter, keeping Virginia Tech undefeated at 3-0. The Hokies have now won 54 straight home games against non-conference opponents and improve to 16-1 all-time against the Lady Flames.

Liberty drops to 1-3 with its third straight setback despite the incredible efforts by Keyen Green (20 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in 22 minutes) and Emily Lytle (15 of her 19 points came during the fourth quarter, including the Lady Flames' last 13 points of the game.)

Box Score Highlights
Other Liberty Individuals: Ashtyn Baker – 9 points; Mya McMillian – 10 rebounds.

Other Virginia Tech Individuals: Dara Mabrey – 19 points, 4-9 3FG; Elizabeth Kitley – 10 points.

Key Team Stats: Virginia Tech scored 15 fast break points to Liberty's four and tallied 21 points off the Lady Flames' 16 turnovers. Liberty outrebounded the Hokies (36-31) and scored 38 points in the paint to the home team's 24.

Turning Point
Emily Lytle got fouled shooting a three-pointer with 17.0 seconds remaining and hit all three shots, cutting Liberty's deficit to 71-69. The Lady Flames fouled Lydia Rivers, who promptly missed both of her free throws.

However, Sheppard tracked down the rebound and knocked down her pair of foul shots to wrap up the home team's hard-fought victory.

Game Summary
First Quarter
• Liberty raced out to a quick 5-0 lead before Aisha Sheppard responded for the Hokies. She scored seven points during an 11-2 run, and host Virginia Tech did not trail again during the opening period despite committing six turnovers.

• Keyen Green helped keep the Lady Flames close, tallying six points, three rebounds and two blocks during a first quarter which ended with the Hokies on top 17-15.

Second Quarter
• Kennedi Williams' driving layup on Liberty's first possession of the second quarter knotted things up at 17-17.

• Dara Mabrey capped the Hokies' ensuing 8-0 burst with one of her two triples during the second quarter. Virginia Tech then held off a late Lady Flames surge to take a 36-32 halftime lead.

Third Quarter
• It was a one-possession game (43-40 VT) after Ashtyn Baker's second-chance layup at the 5:36 mark. The Hokies then outscored the Lady Flames 13-4 over the remainder of the period, aided by Mabrey and Cayla King triples.

 • Liberty trailed by a dozen (56-44) heading to the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as 14 points during a stanza . The Lady Flames shot 30.8 percent (4-of-13) from the field during the quarter.

Fourth Quarter
• Emily Lytle's three-point play at the 3:28 mark capped a 13-2 Liberty run, pulling the Lady Flames within a single point (62-61). But Sheppard scored the game's next six points to keep the Lady Flames at bay.

Notes and Nuggets
• Green's 20-point game was the eighth of her career and her first since Jan. 23, 2018 at Longwood. She moved into 20th place in program history with 834 career points.

• Lytle hit all eight of her free throw attempts in the fourth quarter during a season-high 19-point effort. Her 15 fourth-quarter points fell one shy of her own program record for most points in a quarter (16 in the first quarter vs. Lipscomb on Feb. 12, 2019).

• McMillian grabbed a game-high and career-high 10 rebounds, eclipsing her previous high of seven boards from last season's matchup with Virginia Tech (Nov. 13, 2018).

• Virginia Tech had outrebounded its first two opponents by an average of 20.5 boards per game before Liberty won the rebounding battle for the 17th straight game, dating back to last season.

• This was Liberty's first game at Cassell Coliseum since Dec. 30, 2008. That day, the Lady Flames recorded their only victory over the Hokies in program history, a 45-43 decision in the Hokie Hardwood Classic title game.

• Friday's game was played 20 years to the day after Carey Green made his Liberty head coaching debut in a 60-45 loss at Virginia Tech on Nov. 15, 1999.

Up Next
Liberty will return to the Vines Center for its annual Education Day game, Thursday at 11 a.m. versus UNCG (1-2).

Date: Thursday, November 21, 2019
Location: Lynchburg, Va. (Vines Center)
TV: ESPN+
Radio: LFSN Radio (90.9 FM The Light Lynchburg)
Tipoff: 11 a.m.