Lady Flames basketball snaps losing streak with impressive victory against James Madison
The Liberty women’s basketball team snapped a 5-game losing streak in a triumphant 67-53 win over Commonwealth rival James Madison Dec 1.
In a close game, the Lady Flames came out on top with a home court victory, marking Liberty Head Coach Carey Green’s 550th career win.
“At the heart of any success, wins or victories is teamwork. I have been very blessed with some outstanding players, assistants, managers, trainers and especially all the support that Liberty has given me,” Green said. “I am living the dream. It’s fun to work with young women and see them grow in the game, but also to see them become Champions for Christ.”
In the first quarter, the Dukes came out on fire, scoring 12 points in just the first five minutes of the contest. The Lady Flames fought to prove that they could put the fire out, but fell short, only putting 4 points of their own on the scoreboard. At this point, the Lady Flames utilized their first timeout to reevaluate and adjust.
“We were not very good on the defensive end during the first quarter; (JMU) had scored five out of seven possessions. We finally settled down and got a little more grit, alertness and awareness of things we needed to be doing, and then we started making some shots,” Green said. “Then the tables flipped, and we were able to gain some confidence and learn from what we were doing and execute to the point where we were successful each quarter.”
As the quarter wound down, things started looking up for the Lady Flames. After a turnover forced by junior guard Jordan Hodges, sharpshooter junior guard Emma Hess sank a 3-pointer, putting the Lady Flames back in the game. Hodges played a noteworthy contest, being the team leader in rebounds as well as making six assists. After another score by redshirt freshman forward Caroline Shiery, the Lady Flames overtook the Dukes, reminding them whose hardwood they were on.
“We definitely started off slow today. We needed to pick up the energy, slow down and execute our plays,” freshman guard Asia Boone said. “The teams we played in Texas wanted us to speed up, and they pressed us most of the game, creating turnovers. Playing those kinds of games tested us on patience and executing our plays, which is why we won the game today.”
After barely squeaking by the Dukes in the first quarter, the Lady Flames came out hot during the second. They appeared to have found their groove, maintaining possession of the ball and playing strong defense. After several missed scoring attempts, Boone snagged a rebound and scored off it.
Freshman guard Brooke Moore and Boone were a dynamic duo on the court as Moore made several rebounds, allowing Boone to score. This put the Lady Flames above the Dukes 24-17 heading into halftime.
Boone set a career high of 17 points and three 3-pointers made in the game. Junior center Bella Smuda was also a force to be reckoned with, tying her career high of 18 points made and three impressive blocks.
“We got outrebounded, outworked. … We have got to be more physical and pull down those rebounds,” Hess said. “Asia stepped up big-time and had a lot of clutch shots. Bella too, she was working down low; we were giving her the ball, and she was finishing. They both played really well today.”
Though the third quarter began with several baskets from the Dukes, the Lady Flames fought back with fire, not allowing them to take the lead on the scoreboard. Hodges came out to shoot this quarter, making two buckets back-to-back and securing a more comfortable lead for the Lady Flames. With a 3-pointer made by Hess, the Lady Flames found themselves holding a 10-point lead over JMU.
The Dukes fought hard to regain their lead, but ultimately fell short through the final two quarters, as the buzzer sounded with a 67-53 final.
There is a trend in matchups between the Lady Flames and Dukes, as the home team has now won in its last three meetings. This win also places the Lady Flames at a 16-game home winning streak, establishing a program record.
With this victory under their belt, the Lady Flames are now 3-5 this season and all-time 4-14 against the Dukes. Liberty will look to continue its home winning streak, playing against Towson Dec. 4 at Liberty Arena.
White is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on X