Liberty Tops Radford 67-54 for 1st Road Win of Season
Balanced scoring and a strong defensive effort led Liberty to its first road win of the 2022-23 season, a 67-54 triumph at Radford Sunday afternoon. Three Lady Flames scored in double figures, and Liberty forced 19 turnovers inside the Dedmon Center, a familiar venue from its Big South Conference days.
Liberty snaps a three-game losing skid, improving to 3-4 on the year. Mya Berkman led the Lady Flames with 16 points as the victors shot a season-best 54 percent (27-of-50) and won their 15th straight meeting with a Big South opponent.
The Highlanders fall to 3-5 this season and 26-45 all-time against Liberty in the most frequently played series in Lady Flames history. Radford shot well from behind the arc (8-of-18 for 44.4 percent) but could not overcome 19 turnovers.
Box Score Highlights
Liberty Individuals: Berkman – 16 points, 6-8 FG; Emma Hess – 13 points, 3-5 3FG; Bella Smuda – 11 points, 5-6 FG; Jordan Bailey – 8 points.
Radford Individuals: Ashlyn Traylor – 14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals; Rachel LaLonde – 12 points, 10 rebounds; Ashley Panem – 12 points, 4-4 3FG.
Key Team Stats: Liberty dominated the scoring inside the paint, 38-18, and finished with a 29-27 rebounding edge. The Lady Flames’ bench scored 25 points, as compared with 17 for Radford’s reserves.
After a back and forth start to the game, Liberty held a 20-18 lead early in the second quarter following an Ashley Panem three-pointer for the Highlanders.
The Lady Flames then outscored Radford 14-4 over the final 8:27 of the opening half to build a 34-22 advantage at the intermission.
Liberty kept its lead at eight points or more the rest of the way during its first win in its last three tries at the Dedmon Center.
- Liberty led 20-15 after a first quarter where the Lady Flames shot 60 percent (9-of-15) and got 10 points from Emma Hess.
- Radford kept things close by hitting three triples during the first minutes of play.
- The Lady Flames took a 34-22 halftime lead following their aforementioned 14-4 surge. The visitors were aided by the duo of Hess (13 first-half points) and Smuda (9 first-half points) as well as an 18-6 advantage in points in the paint.
- Liberty turned the ball over five times during the third quarter. However, the Lady Flames shot well (60 percent, 6-of-10) when they did take care of the ball and outscored Radford 12-10 for the stanza. Liberty led 46-32 heading to the final period.
- After being limited by foul trouble during the first three quarters, Berkman tallied 10 points during the final period to help Liberty close things out.
- The Lady Flames led by as many as 19 points during a final period where they shot 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from the field and made all six of their free throws.
Notes and Nuggets
- Berkman, who joined the 1,000-point club during her last outing versus Minnesota on Nov. 27, has now scored 42 points in the last two contests.
- All 13 of Hess’s points came in the first half. Her three triples give her 18 through the season’s first seven games.
- Smuda (11 points) came off the bench to score in double figures for the second time this season and the 15th in her career.
- Playing in front of a large crowd of friends and family about 55 miles away from her hometown of Galax, Va., Audrey Clark hit a pair of three-pointers for a season-high six points. It was her most points since a career-high 14-point outburst in the final game of her freshman season, March 11, 2020 at North Alabama.
- This was the first matchup between Liberty and Radford since Feb. 13, 2018. That day, the Highlanders topped the Lady Flames, 52-45, at the Dedmon Center. Since then, Liberty has won 15 straight meetings with Big South opponents.
- Liberty has now won 18 of its last 19 December contests.
- The Lady Flames, who shot over 50 percent from the field for the first time this season, improve to 137-3 all-time under Carey Green when making at least half of their field goals.
Liberty will now prepare for a Dec. 11 visit to No. 1 South Carolina (8-0), the defending national champion. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. inside Colonial Life Arena, and the game will air on SEC Network+.
Featured in Main Photo: #31 Bella Smuda