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    Liberty Uses Stifling Defense in 76-30 Win Over Bluefield State

    Dec 14, 2021 | Lynchburg Va | Women's Basketball

    Liberty entered Tuesday’s matinee versus Bluefield State ranked No. 17 nationally for scoring defense. The Lady Flames did nothing to harm that ranking, limiting the Big Blue to a Liberty Arena record-low 30 points in a 76-30 rout.

    Liberty, which improved to 9-1 with its sixth consecutive win, had not held an opponent to 30 or fewer points in a decade prior to Tuesday. Offensively, five Lady Flames scored in double figures, paced by Mya Berkman with 16.

    Bluefield State remains at 0-7 to start the season after classifying Tuesday’s tilt as an exhibition. The visitors shot just 19.6 percent (10-of-51) for the afternoon.

    Box Score Highlights
    Liberty Individuals: Berkman – 16 points, 7 rebounds; Bella Smuda – 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks; Emma Hess – 11 points, 9 rebounds; Bridgette Rettstatt – 10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals; Jordan Bailey – 10 points, 7 rebounds.

    Bluefield State Individuals: Alexus Tucker – 9 points, 5 rebounds; Azariah Binford – 5 points, 2 steals; Darnisha Farris – 6 rebounds.

    Key Team Stats: Liberty, which scored 46 points in the paint, shot 49.3 percent (33-of-67) from the field. Liberty outrebounded the visitors, 48-29, with 16 offensive boards leading to 15 second-chance points. The Lady Flames distributed 20 assists and committed a season-low seven turnovers. Liberty also matched a season high with six blocked shots.

    Turning Point
    A Katrina Davis three-pointer with 2:35 to play in the opening quarter pulled the visitors within 13-7.

    Bluefield State did not score another point for more than 11 and a half minutes. During that extended drought, Liberty broke the game open with a 23-0 run.

    Game Summary
    First Quarter

    • Mya Berkman (6 points, 5 rebounds) helped the Lady Flames get off to a fast start. Liberty took a 15-point lead (22-7) into the second quarter after a 9-0 run to close out the opening stanza.

     Second Quarter

    • Liberty scored the first 14 points of the second quarter before Bluefield State’s lone hoop, a Darnisha Farris jumper with 59 seconds remaining. That ended the aforementioned 23-0 run by the Lady Flames.
    • The two points scored by the Big Blue were the fewest Liberty has ever allowed in a quarter, and the Lady Flames built a 40-9 halftime advantage.

     Third Quarter

    • Berkman and fellow post Bridgette Rettstatt combined for 12 of Liberty’s first 14 points to begin the second half.
    • Meanwhile, Bluefield State enjoyed its best offensive stanza of the afternoon (11 points), aided by three triples. However, Liberty still owned a 40-point lead (60-20) heading to the final 10 minutes.

    Fourth Quarter

    • Liberty’s reserves scored all 16 of the team’s points during the final period, half of which came from Emma Hess.

    Notes and Nuggets

    • Despite playing just 18 minutes, Berkman (16 points) led the Lady Flames in scoring for the seventh time in 10 games to open the season.
    • Smuda’s 12 points set a new season high.
    • Hess matched her career highs of 11 points and three triples while leading all players with her career-best nine rebounds.
    • Rettstatt scored in double figures for the sixth consecutive game and the 50th time in her career, moving to within 25 points of 1,000.
    • Bailey (10 points) reached double digits for the first time in her collegiate career.
    • Liberty changed its starting lineup for the first time this season, as Kennedi Williams got the start at point guard for the fourth time in her career, recording four points and three assists.
    • The last time Liberty held a team to 30 or fewer points was Nov. 26, 2011, in a 70-27 win over Lipscomb at the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament in Nashville, Tenn.
    • Prior to Tuesday, the fewest points Liberty had ever allowed in a quarter was three (Jan. 21, 2017 at UNC Asheville and March 2, 2019 at NJIT).
    • The Lady Flames have held four straight opponents below the 50-point mark and have not trailed at all during their last three outings.
    • Liberty is 9-1 or better through 10 games for the first time since 2007-08 and just the third time in program history.
    • Liberty improves to 6-2 all-time against Bluefield State, nine years and one day after the most recent meeting between the two teams.
    • The Lady Flames and Big Blue were originally slated to meet on Monday before transportation issues prevented Bluefield State from reaching Lynchburg until Tuesday.

    Up Next
    Liberty will play its next two games at the South Padre Island Classic in South Padre Island, Texas. The Lady Flames’ tournament opener will pit them against Grand Canyon (5-3), Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern at the South Padre Island Convention Centre.