Liberty Locks Down Virginia Tech in 59-40 Win
Liberty Arena continues to be a house of horrors for visiting basketball teams. Virginia Tech was the facility’s latest victim, Tuesday evening, as Liberty utilized a stifling defensive effort to claim a 59-40 victory, its first-ever home win over the Hokies.
Liberty (8-1) continues its best start to a season since 2007-08 with its fifth straight victory, improving to 17-1 all-time at Liberty Arena. The Lady Flames picked up their first win over an ACC opponent since a 45-43 victory at Virginia Tech on Dec. 30, 2008, their only previous triumph over the Hokies in 18 meetings.
Virginia Tech (7-3), which never led on Tuesday, loses its second game in three days. The Hokies, who entered the game ranked No. 12 nationally in three-point field goal percentage (39.7), shot just 6-of-27 on Tuesday for 22.2 percent. The visitors committed 19 turnovers, and first team All-ACC center Elizabeth Kitley was limited to seven points in 33 minutes.
The Hokies’ 40 points were their fewest in a game since Jan. 26, 2017 at Virginia.
Box Score Highlights
Liberty Individuals: Alyssa Iverson – 16 points, 5 assists; Bridgette Rettstatt – 13 points, 7 rebounds; Mya Berkman – 8 points, 6 rebounds; Priscilla Smeenge – 8 rebounds.
Virginia Tech Individuals: Aisha Sheppard – 17 points, 9 rebounds, 5-8 3FG; Emily Lytle – 8 points; Kitley – 7 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks.
Key Team Stats: While Virginia Tech struggled mightily from three-point range, Liberty connected on 50 percent (6-of-12) from long distance. The Lady Flames outrebounded the Hokies, 43-33, pulling down 16 offensive rebounds. Liberty also more than doubled up Virginia Tech inside the paint, 26-12.
Virginia Tech point guard Georgia Amoore scored on a floater at the third-quarter buzzer, bringing her team within 11 points (43-32) heading to the final period.
Liberty then used its best defensive stretch of the night to put the game away. The Hokies managed only two points over the first 8:57 of the fourth quarter, missing nine of their first 10 field goal attempts and committing three turnovers.
During that game-sealing span, the Lady Flames outscored the Hokies, 12-2, getting six points from Iverson.
- Liberty continued its season-long trend of starting games quickly. The Lady Flames led by as many as 11 points (15-4) on their way to a 15-6 advantage through the opening 10 minutes of play.
- Rettstatt knocked down a pair of triples for the Lady Flames during the first quarter. Conversely, the Hokies shot 0-of-7 from long range and 2-of-14 overall for the stanza.
- Coming off a 30-point outburst during Sunday’s loss to Tennessee, Sheppard got heated up with three second-quarter triples for the Hokies. However, reigning ASUN Freshman of the Week Emma Hess answered Sheppard’s final triple with one of her own during the half’s final minute. That enabled Liberty to maintain a double-digit lead at 30-19 at the intermission.
- Liberty tallied 16 points in the paint prior to halftime, while forcing 11 Virginia Tech turnovers and limiting the Hokies to 22.2 percent (6-of-27) from the field.
- The Lady Flames’ advantage remained in double digits for most of the third quarter. The two teams managed 13 points apiece, with Amoore’s floater in the final seconds cutting the Virginia Tech deficit to 43-32 heading to the final period.
- Liberty closed things out by outscoring the Hokies, 16-8, during the final 10 minutes. Six of Virginia Tech’s eight tallies came during the final 62 seconds, after they trailed by 21 points.
- Iverson scored seven fourth-quarter points for the Lady Flames.
Notes and Nuggets
- Iverson’s 16 points matched her career high.
- Rettstatt scored in double figures for the fifth straight game and the 49th time in her career, matching her career high of three triples made.
- Rettstatt’s seven rebounds give her 705 for her career, making her the 10th Lady Flame ever to pull down 700 boards.
- Smeenge paced the Lady Flames with a career-high eight rebounds on the night.
- Former Lady Flame Lytle ended up on the losing end of the Liberty-Virginia Tech matchup for the fourth consecutive season. She played the last three seasons (2018-19 through 2020-21) for Liberty, totaling 1,153 points.
- Prior to Tuesday, Carey Green had been just 1-12 coaching against Virginia Tech, beginning with a loss in the first game of his Liberty career on Nov. 15, 1999. He had also been 2-10 against Kenny Brooks, including Brooks’ tenure at both James Madison and Virginia Tech.
- Liberty improves to 5-31 all-time against ACC opponents, snapping a 12-game losing streak to ACC foes.
- Virginia Tech was the first ACC basketball team (men’s or women’s) to visit Liberty Arena.
- Liberty’s 19-point margin of victory was the largest margin by either team in the Liberty-Virginia Tech series since a 72-51 Hokies triumph in Blacksburg on Nov. 17, 2000.
Liberty will conclude its three-game homestand Monday at 2 p.m. inside Liberty Arena with its first matchup against Bluefield State (0-6) in nine years.