FGCU Downs Liberty in ASUN Opener, 70-53
Defending conference champion FGCU got its 2022-23 ASUN season off to a fast start, Monday at Alico Arena. The Eagles utilized three-point shooting and a stifling defense to top Liberty, 70-53, in both teams’ conference opener.
Liberty falls to 6-6 overall and 0-1 in the ASUN after seeing its three-game winning streak halted. The Lady Flames got 17 points from Mya Berkman, but were limited to 16 first-half points and committed 16 turnovers on the night.
FGCU wins its fifth in a row and improves to 11-0 all-time against the Lady Flames, boosting its record to 13-2 overall and 1-0 in the ASUN. Sha Carter (17 points) led four Eagles in double figures, and FGCU knocked down 12 triples.
Box Score Highlights
Liberty Individuals: Mya Berkman – 17 points, 7-11 FG; Kennedi Williams – 8 points, 6 assists; Dee Brown – 6 points, 4 rebounds; Pien Steenbergen – 8 rebounds.
FGCU Individuals: Sha Carter – 17 points, 3 steals, 5-6 FG; Alyza Winston – 13 points, 3-6 3FG; Tishara Morehouse – 11 points, 4 assists, 3-7 3FG; Uju Ezeudu – 10 points, 4-4 FG, Emma List – 7 points, 8 assists, 3 steals.
Key Team Stats: FGCU finished at 37.5 percent (12-of-32) from beyond the arc, compared with 18.2 percent (2-of-11) for Liberty. The Eagles scored 13 points off the Lady Flames’ 16 turnovers and recorded 18 assists on 24 made field goals. Liberty, which shot 41.3 percent (19-of-46) for the contest, owned slight edges in rebounds (34-29) and points in the paint (28-24).
FGCU raced out to a quick 11-2 lead and foreshadowed the rest of the contest with its play during the opening period. The Eagles hit four triples and forced six Liberty turnovers during the first 10 minutes of play, building a lead that remained in double figures the rest of the evening.
- FGCU led by as many as 14 points during the opening period and took a 21-9 advantage after 10 minutes of play. The Eagles knocked down four triples in the stanza and scored six points off Liberty’s six turnovers.
- Mya Berkman tallied seven of the Lady Flames’ nine first-quarter points.
- Audrey Clark came off the bench to score back-to-back hoops, pulling Liberty within 23-13 midway through the second quarter.
- However, the visiting Lady Flames did not make another field goal until the half’s final minute. FGCU built a 19-point lead during that drought and took a 33-16 cushion into the intermission.
- Liberty shot just 31.8 percent (7-of-22) before halftime and turned the ball over a dozen times.
- The Eagles caught fire offensively during the third period, scoring 25 points on 61.5 percent (8-of-13) from the field and 66.7 percent (6-of-9) from three-point range. Alyza Winston hit all three of her triple attempts in the quarter for FGCU.
- Liberty shot 54.5 percent (6-of-11) itself during a 17-point stanza. But the Eagles had extended to a 25-point lead (58-33) through three quarters.
- Liberty outscored the host Eagles by a 20-12 count during the final period, getting seven points from Kennedi Williams and an 8-of-10 effort from the line for the stanza.
Notes and Nuggets
- Berkman scored in double figures for the third straight game, overtaking former teammate Ashtyn Baker for 17th place on Liberty’s all-time scoring list. The redshirt senior center finished the contest with 1,097 career points.
- Williams’ team-high six assists give her 21 in her last three games and an even 300 for her career.
- Steenbergen’s eight rebounds off the bench paced all players and matched the freshman’s career high.
- Liberty is now 0-11 against FGCU, matching Mount St. Mary’s as the opponent the Lady Flames have faced the most often in program history without defeating. The Lady Flames are 0-7 in Fort Myers.
- Liberty falls to 3-2 in ASUN openers, with both losses coming at FGCU.
- The Lady Flames were limited to 18.2 percent (2-of-11) from three-point range after they had hit 51 percent (25-of-49) from beyond the arc during their three-game winning streak.
- Liberty is now 6-12 when facing ASUN opponents in Florida and 48-9 everywhere else.
- Monday’s game wrapped up a string of eight out of nine contests played away from Lynchburg for the Lady Flames. Liberty finished the challenging stretch with a 4-5 record.
The Lady Flames will tip off the home portion of their ASUN Conference schedule on Thursday by welcoming Central Arkansas (5-7, 0-1 ASUN) to Liberty Arena for the first time. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., as the game will be followed by a Liberty-Jacksonville State men’s basketball clash at 7 p.m.
Featured in Main Photo: #12 Dee Brown