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Defense Fuels Liberty's 1st-Ever ASUN Victory

January 15, 2019  Kennesaw, Ga.  RSS
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One day before her 22nd birthday, KK Barbour (10 points) was one of four Lady Flames to score in double figures, Tuesday at Kennesaw State.

One day before her 22nd birthday, KK Barbour (10 points) was one of four Lady Flames to score in double figures, Tuesday at Kennesaw State.

Tatyana Crowder's steal and layup with 43.3 seconds remaining broke a 61-61 tie, sending Liberty to its first-ever ASUN Conference win, a 67-61 triumph at Kennesaw State on Tuesday. The Lady Flames held the Owls to two points over the final 4:09 of a hard-fought contest at the KSU Convocation Center.

Liberty improves to 5-12 overall and 1-3 in ASUN play after snapping a three-game overall losing streak and a four-game slide in road contests. Four Lady Flames scored in double figures, including Emily Lytle (14 points), Bridgette Rettstatt (13), KK Barbour (10) and Kierra Johnson-Graham (10).

Kennesaw State drops to 5-11 overall and 1-2 in conference games. The Owls fell to 4-1 at home this season despite a career game from Alexis Poole (27 points, 15 rebounds). Kennesaw State shot just 1-of-7 (with two of those shots being blocked by the Lady Flames) and committed three turnovers during the decisive final 4:09.

Box Score Highlights
Liberty Individuals: Emily Lytle – 14 points, 5-6 FT; Bridgette Rettstatt – 13 points in 13 minutes, 6-6 FG; KK Barbour – 10 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2-3 3FG; Kierra Johnson-Graham – 10 points; Tatyana Crowder – 6 assists, 2 blocks.

Other Kennesaw State Individuals: Kamiyah Street – 16 points, 4 assists, 5 steals; Amani Johnson – 10 points, 6 assists, 5 steals.

Key Team Stats: Liberty shot well from the field (55.1 percent, 27-of-49) and the three-point line (45.5 percent, 5-of-11) but struggled from the foul line (57.1 percent, 8-of-14). Kennesaw State made only 3-of-16 three-point tries for 18.8 percent. The Owls outrebounded the Lady Flames 33-23, aided by 17 offensive boards. Liberty's 19 assists were a season high. Both teams committed 22 turnovers.

Turning Point
Kennesaw State had possession of the ball during the final minute with the score deadlocked at 61-61 when Tatyana Crowder picked Amani Johnson's pocket. The senior's layup put Liberty in front 63-61 with 43.3 seconds remaining.

The Lady Flames then forced another turnover, preventing KSU from inbounding the ball within five seconds. Late in Liberty's ensuing possession, Ria Gulley drove through the paint and found an open Kierra Johnson-Graham with a no-look pass that led to a layup with 19.0 seconds remaining.

Now trailing 65-61, Kennesaw State missed its next two shots, including one which was blocked by KK Barbour and one which was rebounded by Gulley. Emily Lytle then sealed the Lady Flames' historic win with a pair of free throws.

Game Summary
First Quarter
• Liberty led by as many as five points during a first quarter where seven different Lady Flames scored points and the visitors shot 63.6 percent (7-of-11) from the field.

• Alexis Poole kept Kennesaw State close, tallying eight points and four rebounds during the first 10 minutes of play.

Second Quarter
• Poole kept it going for the Owls during the second period, adding 12 more points and four more boards for a 20-point, 8-rebound opening half.

• Emily Lytle scored six of her nine first-half points in the stanza, helping Liberty play to a 35-35 halftime tie despite 12 turnovers and a -6 (15-9) rebound margin within the contest's first 20 minutes.

Third Quarter
• After being limited by foul trouble during the first half, Bridgette Rettstatt scored five quick points to start the third quarter. Her fast start helped the Lady Flames open up an 11-point lead (53-42) during the period. That advantage, Liberty's largest of the evening, came as a result of Emily Lytle's corner three-pointer at the 2:15 mark.

• Kennesaw State made only three field goals during the period but kept in touch by sinking six of its seven free throw tries. Foul shots accounted for all of the Owls' points during a 5-0 surge to end the quarter, pulling the home team within six (53-47).

Fourth Quarter
• Amani Johnson scored eight of her 10 points during the fourth quarter for the Owls, including a pair of three-pointers during an 8-0 run. Her triple from the corner with 4:10 to play put Kennesaw State in front 59-58.

• Liberty shot 55.6 percent (5-of-9) for the final period, with Kierra Johnson-Graham tallying half of her 10 points during the stanza.

Notes and Nuggets
• Emily Lytle scored in double figures for the team-high 10th time this season but for the first time since Dec. 22 vs. Duquesne.

• Bridgette Rettstatt has now reached double digits in the scoring column in all four ASUN games after doing so in just six of her first 38 career outings.

• One day before her 22nd birthday, KK Barbour tallied the 30th double-digit scoring output of her career. She also moved to within two rebounds of 500 during her four years as a Lady Flame.

• Kierra Johnson-Graham, an Atlanta native, played in her home state for the first time in her collegiate career and made her first start of the season.

• Tatyana Crowder's team-high six assists set a new career high, and she also equaled her career best with two blocked shots.

• Ashtyn Baker missed her first career game due to injury after playing in 50 straight contests to begin her Liberty career and starting the last 47 of them.

• Liberty Head Coach Carey Green (445 wins) and Kennesaw State Head Coach Agnus Berenato (466 wins) have combined for 911 career victories. They are now 1-1 when facing each other as head coaches.

• Liberty is now 117-2 all-time under Carey Green when shooting 50 percent from the field, including 2-0 this season.

• Tuesday's game marked the first-ever meeting between Liberty and Kennesaw State and the Lady Flames' first game in Georgia since Nov. 30, 2014 at Georgia State.

Up Next
For the second consecutive Saturday, Liberty will host a first-time opponent from Jacksonville. North Florida (7-8, 2-2 ASUN) will visit the Vines Center for a 2 p.m. ASUN Conference game on a day which will also feature a Liberty-North Florida men's basketball clash at 7 p.m.

Date: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019
Location: Lynchburg, Va. (Vines Center)
Radio: LFSN Radio (90.9 FM The Light Lynchburg)
Tipoff: 2 p.m.