15-0 Run Propels Lady Flames to 1st ASUN Victory
Clinging to a one-point lead during the fourth quarter of Thursday afternoon’s ASUN home opener versus Central Arkansas, Liberty took control with a 15-0 run. As a result, the Lady Flames posted a 64-53 victory inside Liberty Arena for their first ASUN win of the season.
Liberty improves to 7-6 on the season and 1-1 in ASUN play after successfully bouncing back from a 70-53 setback at FGCU on Monday. The redshirt senior duo of Mya Berkman (12 points, Liberty Arena-record 17 rebounds, 2 blocks) and Dee Brown (12 points, 9 rebounds, 10-10 FT) scored 10 points during the decisive 15-0 surge, sending Liberty to its fourth straight home win.
Making its first-ever visit to Lynchburg, Central Arkansas falls to 5-8 overall and 0-2 in the ASUN with its sixth loss in the last seven contests. Parris Atkins led all scorers with 16 points, but the Sugar Bears could not overcome 30.8 percent (16-of-52) shooting or a -20 rebound margin.
Box Score Highlights
Other Liberty Individuals: Jordan Hodges – 11 points; Pien Steenbergen – 9 points, 3-5 3FG; Jordan Bailey – 8 points, 3 assists.
Central Arkansas Individuals: Parris Atkins – 16 points, 5 rebounds; Kinley Fisher – 14 points, 6-6 FT; Randrea Wright – 14 points, 3 assists.
Key Team Stats: Liberty shot just 38.9 percent (21-of-54) itself but knocked down twice as many three-pointers as Central Arkansas (8-4). Both teams fared well from the free throw line, as the Lady Flames matched their best percentage of the season (87.5 percent, 14-of-16) and the Sugar Bears finished at 77.3 percent (17-of-22). Liberty converted 16 offensive rebounds into 14 second-chance points and rejected six Central Arkansas shot attempts. The Sugar Bears tallied 15 points off 16 Liberty turnovers.
Central Arkansas never led during Thursday’s game, but an Atkins corner triple shaved Liberty’s lead to one (49-48) with 8:40 left in the contest.
The Lady Flames then fashioned their aforementioned 15-0 run, getting six points from Berkman and four more from Brown. During that time, Central Arkansas missed eight consecutive field goal attempts.
Brown’s pair of free throws with 1:33 to play capped off the extended surge with Liberty now well in control at 64-48.
- Central Arkansas missed its first nine field goal attempts of the afternoon, during which time Liberty hit three triples to build an early 16-4 advantage.
- The Sugar Bears cut their deficit to 16-8 at the end of the period despite shooting just 14.3 percent (2-of-14) and being outrebounded, 15-8.
- Liberty knocked down three more shots from beyond the arc during the second quarter, but the Sugar Bears knocked three points off the Lady Flames’ lead by outscoring their hosts, 15-12.
- Central Arkansas trailed 28-23 at the half after making six free throws and forcing nine Liberty turnovers during the stanza.
- Randrea Wright tallied eight points during the first 4:34 of the second half, including a three-pointer at the 5:26 mark which cut Liberty’s lead to a single point, 36-35.
- The Lady Flames responded with an 11-2 run, rebuilding a double-digit advantage (47-37) on Bella Smuda’s turnaround jumper with 1:23 on the clock.
- But the Sugar Bears posted the period’s final five points, pulling back within 47-42 on Wright’s buzzer-beating jumper. That gave Wright a 12-point third period.
- Aided by an 8-of-8 showing from the foul line, Liberty outscored Central Arkansas, 17-11, over the final 10 minutes of play.
- Berkman and Brown posted matching stat lines of six points, six rebounds apiece during the fourth quarter.
Notes and Nuggets
- Berkman’s career-high 17 rebounds shattered the Liberty Arena record of 13, which had been achieved on four previous occasions. The most recent was Bridgette Rettstatt vs. FGCU on Feb. 24, 2022.
- Berkman pulled down the most boards by a Lady Flame since Dec. 4, 2016, when Keyen Green had 17 caroms against Navy.
- Berkman posted her fifth double-double of the season and the 12th of her career.
- Brown matched her season high of 12 points, grabbed a season-best nine rebounds and posted a game-high +18 plus-minus in her 29 minutes of work.
- Brown connected on all 10 of her free throw attempts, becoming the sixth Lady Flame ever to shoot 10 or more foul shots in a single game without a miss and the first since Simone Brown at Radford on Dec. 6, 2014.
- Hodges’ 11 points set a new career high.
- Kennedi Williams’ game-high five assists give her 26 helpers in the last four contests.
- Steenbergen matched her career high of three triples, finishing 3-of-5 from long range. She has connected on eight of her last 12 tries from beyond the arc after starting the season at 5-of-25 in that category.
- Thursday was the Lady Flames’ 35th contest at Liberty Arena. They improved to 32-3 all-time at the facility, including 4-1 this season and 17-1 versus ASUN foes.
- Thursday marked Liberty’s first home game in three weeks and their second home tilt in seven weeks. The Lady Flames had played eight of their previous nine games away from Lynchburg.
- Liberty improves to 2-1 all-time versus Central Arkansas.
- Five different Lady Flames blocked a shot on Thursday as Liberty equaled a season high with six rejections. Liberty has blocked at least two shots in every game this season.
The Lady Flames will remain at home on Sunday for their first of two meetings with Jacksonville (7-4, 1-0 ASUN) within seven days. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. inside Liberty Arena.
Featured in Main Photo: #0 Jordan Hodges