Liberty Rolls to 79-51 Victory at Central Arkansas
Playing its first-ever game in Arkansas, Liberty was impressive from start to finish, Saturday at the Farris Center. The Lady Flames never trailed in a 79-51 victory over Central Arkansas, their first ASUN West Division opponent of the season.
Liberty, which put five players in double figures and shot a season-high 60 percent (30-of-50) from the field, improves to 17-2 overall and 5-1 in the ASUN. Central Arkansas became the sixth different team the Lady Flames have defeated for the first time in 2021-22.
Central Arkansas shot only 30 percent (18-of-60) from the floor, falling to 6-10 overall and 1-4 in ASUN play with its third straight loss.
Box Score Highlights
Liberty Individuals: Mya Berkman – 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 8-10 FG; Priscilla Smeenge – 13 points, 3-4 3FG; Bella Smuda – 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks; Dee Brown – 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists; Bridgette Rettstatt 10 points, 4-5 FG.
Central Arkansas Individuals: Randrea Wright – 15 points, 4 assists; Hannah Langhi – 8 points, 5 rebounds; Lucy Ibeh – 7 points, 4 steals.
Key Team Stats: Liberty racked up 50 points in the paint and outrebounded the Sugar Bears, 41-26. The Lady Flames dished out 19 assists on 30 made field goals. Liberty was efficient from beyond the arc, shooting 5-of-12 for 41.7 percent.
Liberty took control from the outset, with the first quarter foreshadowing the eventual outcome. The Lady Flames built a 24-8 lead during the opening stanza, shooting 60 percent (9-of-15) to Central Arkansas’ 15.8 percent (3-of-19).
Liberty’s lead remained in double figures the rest of the afternoon.
- Liberty raced out to an 11-2 lead within the first four minutes of play and never slowed down, extending the advantage to 16 points (24-8) at the end of the opening quarter.
- The Lady Flames tallied 16 points in the paint during the first period, paced by the duo of Bridgette Rettstatt (7) and Mya Berkman (6).
- The Liberty lead reached 23 points (37-14) when Priscilla Smeenge’s second triple of the first half dropped through the hoop, 4:23 before halftime.
- The Sugar Bears pulled back within 39-22 by the intermission but shot just 21.4 percent (6-of-28) during the opening half.
- After being held scoreless in the first half, Lucy Ibeh notched seven points in 3:13 to begin the third quarter, cutting her team’s deficit to 13 (44-31).
- But Berkman scored six points during the Lady Flames’ ensuing 8-0 run and Liberty held the Sugar Bears without a made field goal for the remainder of the period. As a result, the Lady Flames took a 59-37 advantage into the final 10 minutes of play.
- Liberty closed the door on any thoughts of a Central Arkansas comeback by shooting 61.5 percent (8-of-13) during a 20-point fourth quarter.
Notes and Nuggets
- Berkman’s game-high 19 points, which came in only 19 minutes of playing time, were her most since a 21-point outing in the ASUN opener at Stetson on Jan. 5.
- Smeenge, who tied her career high of three triples, has averaged 12.3 ppg in the last three games, after missing the previous three contests.
- Rettstatt overtook Cynthia Thomson for 18th place on Liberty’s all-time scoring list with 1,062 career points.
- Liberty put five players into double digits in the scoring column for the first time since Dec. 14 against Bluefield State.
- The Lady Flames evened their all-time record against Central Arkansas at 1-1.
- Saturday’s 28-point win marked the Lady Flames’ largest margin of victory in an ASUN game since Jan. 30, 2021, when they won 78-46 over Jacksonville at Liberty Arena.
The Lady Flames will return to Liberty Arena for their next two games, beginning with a Thursday 3:30 p.m. matchup with North Alabama (7-9, 2-2 ASUN).