Liberty Holds Off Campbell, 50-44, For 1st WNIT Win
The third time was the charm for Liberty when it came to the Postseason WNIT, Wednesday evening at Liberty Arena. Playing in the event for the third time in program history and the first time at home, the Lady Flames utilized a stout defensive effort in a 50-44 victory over former Big South Conference foe Campbell. It marked Liberty’s first Postseason WNIT triumph in program history.
Liberty (28-4) advances to the tournament’s second round, where the Lady Flames will match up against the winner of Thursday’s Murray State at Vanderbilt contest at a date and location to be determined.
The Lady Flames, who got double-doubles from Bridgette Rettstatt (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Mya Berkman (12 points, 10 rebounds), tied the program single-season records for wins (28) and home wins (16). Liberty previously won 28 contests in 1997-98 (28-1) and 2007-08 (28-4), and the 1997-98 team (16-0) was the only other Lady Flames squad to post 16 home triumphs.
Campbell, the Big South regular-season champion, sees its 2021-22 season come to an end at 23-8 after the Camels had matched their own single-season wins record earlier in the year. Making their Postseason WNIT debut, the Camels shot just 32.6 percent (15-of-46) for the night. Campbell has now lost 10 straight meetings with Liberty.
Box Score Highlights
Other Liberty Individuals: Dee Brown – 7 points, 4 rebounds; Kennedi Williams – 5 assists; Bella Smuda – 4 points, 6 rebounds.
Campbell Individuals: Taya Bolden – 14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals; Luana Serranho – 11 points, 7-8 FT; Faith Price – 10 points, 3-7 3FG.
Key Team Stats: Liberty did not shoot well from the field either, finishing up at 38.3 percent (18-of-47). The Lady Flames did go 10-of-12 (83.3) percent at the foul line, including 10-of-10 after halftime. Liberty outrebounded Campbell, 39-25. The Camels forced 21 Liberty turnovers, turning the miscues into 16 points.
Serranho banked in a shot clock buzzer-beating jumper 59 seconds into the fourth quarter, giving Campbell a 35-34 advantage and closing out a 12-0 run.
Liberty then took control of the game with a 10-0 run of its own. Rettstatt tallied five points during the pivotal surge, including a three-pointer with 4:52 to play that made it 44-35, Liberty.
Campbell got no closer than five the rest of the way as the Lady Flames shot 6-of-6 from the charity stripe during the final minute.
- Campbell emerged from a defensive-minded first quarter with a 7-6 edge. The two teams combined to shoot 25 percent (6-of-24) during the opening 10 minutes of play.
- Taya Bolden scored 10 points during the first five minutes of the second quarter, enabling the Camels to extend their lead to 17-11.
- Liberty then closed the half with a 14-3 run capped off by Kennedi Williams’ driving layup as the halftime buzzer sounded. The Lady Flames took a 25-20 advantage into the intermission.
- Three-pointers by Bridgette Rettstatt and Dee Brown bookended a 9-0 Lady Flames run, which provided the home team a 34-23 cushion with 4:50 showing on the third-quarter clock.
- Faith Price hit a pair of triples during Campbell’s ensuing 10-0 surge, enabling the Camels to trim their deficit to a single point (34-33) heading to the fourth period.
- Liberty shot just 3-of-10 during the last 10 minutes and committed seven turnovers. However, the Lady Flames connected on all nine of their free throws during the stanza to pull out the victory.
- Rettstatt tallied seven fourth-quarter points for Liberty, while Luana Serranho countered with seven for the Camels.
Notes and Nuggets
- Rettstatt, the only Lady Flame who had previously faced Campbell (Jan. 20, 2018), led all players in points (16) and rebounds (12) for her fifth double-double of the season and the 13th of her career. It was her fifth consecutive game with 10 or more boards.
- Berkman’s double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) was her sixth of the year and the seventh of her career.
- This is the second time this season Rettstatt and Berkman have recorded double-doubles in the same game. They also did so against James Madison on Nov. 18.
- The low-scoring nature of Wednesday’s game was no surprise, as Liberty entered the contest ranked No. 6 nationally in scoring defense (52.0 ppg) while Campbell ranked No. 9 in the same category (53.5 ppg). The Camels were the 13th team Liberty has held below 50 points this season.
- Liberty has now won 14 straight meetings with Big South opponents, including three this season.
- The Lady Flames’ 16-2 home record gives them a 28-2 all-time mark at Liberty Arena.
- Wednesday marked the first-ever postseason tournament game at Liberty Arena.
- Liberty improves to 1-2 all-time in Postseason WNIT play.
- This was the Lady Flames’ first postseason win since their 88-79 victory over DePaul on March 22, 2005 which advanced them to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Assistant Coach Katie (Feenstra) Mattera was a senior on that team.