Liberty Pulls Out Gritty 66-61 OT Win Over JMU
Liberty’s 20th consecutive home win did not come easily, Thursday evening at Liberty Arena. The Lady Flames needed overtime to pull out a 66-61 victory over James Madison, recording their first win over the Dukes in nine years.
Mya Berkman (18 points, career-high 13 rebounds) recorded her second straight double-double and Jordan Bailey put the Lady Flames ahead for good with a three-pointer at the 2:24 mark of overtime. Their efforts helped Liberty improve to 3-0 for the first time since the 2009-10 season and move to 3-13 all-time against JMU.
The Dukes closed out regulation with a 7-0 run to force overtime. However, they fall to 1-2 with their second consecutive defeat. Leading scorer Kiki Jefferson went for 21 points and eight boards but shot just 5-of-21 from the field as her team went 21-of-71 for 29.6 percent.
Box Score Highlights
Other Liberty Individuals: Bridgette Rettstatt – 11 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists; Bella Smuda – 8 points, 4 rebounds; Jordan Bailey – 7 points, 6 rebounds; Alyssa Iverson – 6 assists
Other James Madison Individuals: Jamia Hazell – 13 points; Steph Ouderkirk – 12 points.
Key Team Stats: Both teams struggled from three-point range. Liberty finished at 23.1 percent (3-of-13) while JMU checked in at 20 percent (5-of-25). The Lady Flames shot 77.3 percent (17-of-22) from the foul line, including 12-of-14 during the fourth quarter and overtime. Liberty enjoyed a significant advantage in rebounds (53-33), assists (15-5) and points in the paint (34-20). The Lady Flames turned the ball over 22 times, but they led to just 14 James Madison points.
Annalicia Goodman’s layup with 2:39 remaining in overtime gave James Madison its second lead of the extra session. Just 15 seconds later, Bailey’s triple from the right wing put Liberty back in front, 56-55.
Bailey’s hoop opened a 7-0 Liberty run, and the Lady Flames successfully closed out their second close victory in six days.
- Liberty jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead and built a double-digit advantage (14-4) by the end of the opening stanza.
- The visiting Dukes made just 2-of-15 field goal attempts in the first quarter. It was the second time in three games to start the season that the Lady Flames had held their opponent to four points during the first period.
- Liberty only managed to shoot 21.4 percent (3-of-14) from the field during the second quarter, enabling JMU to battle back within two (19-17) on Jefferson’s pair of free throws at the 2:55 mark.
- But the Lady Flames did not relinquish the lead. They took a 21-17 edge into halftime, due in large part to a 29-14 rebounding advantage. Neither team made a three-pointer during the first 20 minutes of playing, combining for 16 misses.
- Priscilla Smeenge knocked down the game’s first two triples for the Lady Flames, helping the home team take its first of three separate seven-point leads during the third period.
- JMU’s Ouderkirk responded with her teams’ first two three-pointers during the stanza’s last two minutes. That pulled the Dukes within a single point (35-34) heading to the final 10 minutes of regulation.
- Jamia Hazell gave JMU its first lead of the night (36-35) on a jumper 13 seconds into the fourth period.
- The Dukes’ advantage lasted for less than two minutes, thanks to back-to-back Rettstatt hoops.
- Liberty was on top 49-42 after Bailey hit a layup with 2:26 to play. However, those proved to be the Lady Flames’ final points of regulation.
- JMU forced overtime with seven straight points. Madison Green’s triple with nine seconds left tied things up at 49-all. Jefferson then had a chance to win it for the Dukes as time expired, but her shot was off the mark.
- Liberty scored more points in overtime (17) than it had in any of the four quarters during regulation. The Lady Flames shot 3-of-4 from the field, 1-of-1 from three-point range and 10-of-12 from the free throw line during the stanza.
Notes and Nuggets
- Berkman, who entered the season with one career double-double in 88 games, has now posted back-to-back double-doubles.
- Berkman’s career-high 13 rebounds set a Liberty Arena record, eclipsing Bella Smuda’s 12 boards during a Jan. 31, 2021 win over Jacksonville.
- Rettstatt recorded her ninth career double-double but her first since Jan. 13, 2020 against North Alabama.
- Iverson led all players with her six assists, setting a new career high.
- The Lady Flames are now 15-0 all-time at Liberty Arena and have won 20 consecutive home games overall.
- Liberty has not lost a men’s or women’s basketball game at Liberty Arena through 29 contests.
- Thursday marked Liberty’s first win over James Madison since Dec. 4, 2012 and the Lady Flames’ first home win over the Dukes since Dec. 4, 2007. JMU had won six straight meetings with Liberty prior to Thursday.
- This was Liberty’s first win over a CAA opponent since a Nov. 16, 2015 triumph over Elon at the Vines Center.
- Liberty Head Coach Carey Green improved to 498-203 during his 23 years with the Lady Flames.
- Liberty has now won four consecutive overtime games and is 2-0 in OT at Liberty Arena.
Liberty will wrap up its four-game season-opening homestand Tuesday at 7 p.m. when Memphis visits Lynchburg for the first time.