Lady Flames Hold Off ASUN West Division Leader Jacksonville State, 62-57
A battle between two of the ASUN Conference’s top teams lived up to its billing, Saturday afternoon at Liberty Arena. Liberty never trailed ASUN West Division leader Jacksonville State but had to withstand multiple comeback attempts to claim a 62-57 victory.
Liberty improves to 19-2 overall and 7-1 in ASUN play, due in large part to Bridgette Rettstatt. On the day she was honored for joining the 1,000-point club, Rettstatt scored eight of her game-high 19 points during the fourth quarter and added six rebounds, four assists and a season-high three blocks.
The Lady Flames have now won four in a row overall, nine straight at Liberty Arena and 18 consecutive home meetings with ASUN opponents.
Jacksonville State drops to 15-5 overall and 6-2 in the ASUN. The Gamecocks had won four consecutive road games and nine of their last 10 outings overall prior to Saturday. JSU shot just 33.9 percent (20-of-59) on the afternoon.
Box Score Highlights
Other Liberty Individuals: Kennedi Williams – 11 points, 5 assists; Nenna Lindstrom – 8 points, 3-3 FG; Mya Berkman – 7 points, 9 rebounds.
Jacksonville State Individuals: Imari Martin – 16 points, 6 rebounds, 11-14 FT; Keiara Griffin – 8 points; Shawnta Shaw – 8 points, 3 assists.
Key Team Stats: Liberty finished at 52 percent (26-of-50) from the field, marking the Lady Flames’ third straight game shooting 50 percent or better. The Lady Flames owned a slight 34-33 rebounding edge. JSU scored 26 points off Liberty’s 14 turnovers and only committed eight miscues of its own. The visitors got to the foul line nearly twice as often as Liberty (19 times to 10), converting at a 73.7 percent rate (14-of-19).
Martin knocked down a pair of free throws with 2:00 remaining, cutting the JSU deficit to 57-53. Lindstrom answered with a three-pointer from the right wing 21 seconds later, extending the Liberty lead back to seven points.
The Gamecocks never got closer than five the rest of the way, and Rettstatt hit two foul shots during the final minute to help wrap things up for the Lady Flames.
- Liberty made its first four field goal attempts of the afternoon, jumping out to a quick 9-2 advantage.
- The Lady Flames’ lead reached nine points twice before six straight tallies by JSU guard Shawnta Shaw got her team back into it. Liberty led 19-14 at the end of the opening period.
- Liberty shot 80 percent (8-of-10) during the second quarter, extending its advantage to 36-27 at the intermission.
- The visiting Gamecocks outrebounded Liberty 14-7 and held the Lady Flames to 36.4 percent (4-of-11) from the field during the third period.
- JSU outscored Liberty 19-11 for the stanza, pulling to within a single point (47-46) on Keiara Griffin’s triple at the third-quarter buzzer.
- Jacksonville State got as close as two (51-49) with 6:49 to play in the game but could never get over the hump. Liberty’s defense clamped down to hold the Gamecocks to their lowest-scoring quarter of the contest (11 points).
Notes and Nuggets
- Rettstatt scored in double figures for the third straight game and for the 13th time in her last 15 outings. She overtook Brenda Gunsallus and former teammate Ashtyn Baker on Liberty’s all-time scoring list and now ranks No. 16 in program history with 1,095 career points.
- Williams equaled her season high of 11 points.
- Lindstrom hit both of her three-point attempts after being held without a triple in the last four games.
- Saturday marked the inaugural meeting between Liberty and Jacksonville State. JSU became the seventh opponent Liberty has defeated for the first time in program history this season, joining Bowling Green, Central Arkansas, Grand Canyon, Lee, Ohio and UTRGV.
- Saturday was the Lady Flames’ 25th game at Liberty Arena, and Liberty improved to 24-1 at the facility.
- Liberty and Jacksonville State had combined for 33 victories this season entering Saturday’s matinee, the most of any NCAA Division I women’s basketball matchup contested today.
- The Lady Flames finished 7-1 during January, improving to 159-28 during the month under Carey Green.
- Liberty improves to 135-3 under Carey Green when shooting 50 percent or better, including 8-1 this season.
Liberty will head to Kentucky for its next two games, beginning with a Thursday 11 a.m. contest at Bellarmine (3-16, 0-8 ASUN) in Louisville, Ky.