Liberty Stifles Ospreys for 1st-Ever Win at UNF Arena
Liberty used a stifling defensive effort to claim its first-ever victory inside UNF Arena, Thursday evening. The Lady Flames held North Florida to a season-low point total in a 56-38 win, Liberty’s ninth in a row.
The Lady Flames, who were 0-4 at UNF Arena prior to Thursday, improve to 24-2 overall and remain tied with FGCU atop the ASUN East Division at 12-1. Mya Berkman led Liberty’s balanced attack with a dozen points, while the Lady Flames limited the Ospreys to 27.1 percent (13-of-48) from the field.
North Florida, which never led in the contest, drops to 11-14 overall, 4-9 in the ASUN and 0-2 against the Lady Flames this season.
Box Score Highlights
Liberty Individuals: Berkman – 12 points, 6-7 FG; Jordan Bailey – 7 points; Bella Smuda – 6 points, 9 rebounds.
North Florida Individuals: Summah Evans – 10 points, 2-4 3FG; Erin Jones – 8 points; Jazz Bond – 7 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks.
Key Team Stats: Liberty finished the game at 41.3 percent (19-of-46) from the floor. The Lady Flames shot 81.3 percent (13-of-16) from the foul line. Liberty outrebounded its hosts, 40-26, and scored 24 bench points to UNF’s 18.
North Florida got within four points twice early in the second quarter (12-8 and 14-10). The Lady Flames then closed out the opening half with an extended 14-4 surge, scoring nine of the points from the free throw line.
With its lead having reached 14 by halftime, Liberty stayed in front by double digits for the remainder of the game.
- After falling behind North Florida 13-2 to start their first meeting this season, it was Liberty which opened Thursday’s contest with a 12-2 advantage.
- The Lady Flames owned a 12-5 lead after a first quarter where they outrebounded the Ospreys by a 15-6 count and held UNF to 1-of-13 from the field.
- Liberty outscored the host Ospreys 16-9 during the second period despite shooting only 3-of-10 from the field. The Lady Flames knocked down 9-of-10 free throws in the stanza and took a 28-14 lead into the locker room after Jordan Bailey swished a three-pointer just prior to the halftime buzzer.
- The Lady Flames held UNF to single digits (8) in the scoring column for the third straight quarter. Liberty ended the stanza with a 10-1 run to extend their advantage to 21 points (43-22) heading to the final period.
- Liberty’s lead got as large as 25 during the final period before North Florida closed the game with a late flourish, aided by three triples. UNF outscored the Lady Flames 16-13 over the final 10 minutes, but it was too little, too late.
Notes and Nuggets
- Berkman scored in double figures for the 19th time in 26 games this season.
- This was the first time the road time has won a game in the head-to-head series between Liberty and North Florida. The home team was previously 8-0.
- Liberty has only trailed for 52 seconds in its last 13 halves of basketball, dating back to halftime against North Alabama on Jan. 27.
- Liberty has outrebounded 24 of 26 opponents this season and has held every opposing team below 50 percent from the field.
- North Florida was the 12th opponent Liberty has held below the 50-point mark this season.
Liberty will return home for its next two games, beginning with a Saturday matinee against Stetson (16-10, 9-4 ASUN), winners of eight straight games. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Liberty Arena for the Lady Flames’ Senior Day contest. Six Lady Flames will be recognized prior to tipoff, including Dee Brown, Alyssa Iverson, Nenna Lindstrom, Jordan Peters, Bridgette Rettstatt and Priscilla Smeenge.