Liberty’s 76-72 Win Over Bowling Green is No. 500 for Green
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green recorded his 500th career victory with his team’s 76-72 triumph over Bowling Green on day two of the Navy Classic, Sunday afternoon at Alumni Hall. Fittingly, rebounding played a key role in the Lady Flames’ second win of the weekend in Annapolis, Md.
Liberty (5-1) outrebounded the Falcons, 44-20, converting 17 offensive boards into 18 second-chance points. Leading the way was Mya Berkman (17 points, career-high 15 rebounds), whose three-point play with 4:40 to play put Liberty ahead for good.
Bowling Green (1-4) rallied to turn a 13-point third-quarter deficit into a four-point fourth-quarter lead. But the Falcons could not overcome Liberty’s size advantage, yielding 54 points in the paint.
Box Score Highlights
Other Liberty Individuals: Dee Brown – 11 points, 5 rebounds; Kennedi Williams – 11 points, 3 assists; Bridgette Rettstatt – 10 points, 4 rebounds; Priscilla Smeenge – 10 points, 4 rebounds.
Bowling Green Individuals: Elissa Brett – 17 points, 5 rebounds; Jocelyn Tate – 15 points, 5 rebounds; Morgan Sharps – 12 points, 4-7 3FG.
Key Team Stats: Despite making just 2-of-15 three-point attempts (13.3 percent), Liberty shot a season-best 50.8 percent (31-of-61) from the field. Bowling Green connected at a 45.3 percent (24-of-53) clip from the field, including 36.4 percent (8-of-22) from long range. Liberty recorded 16 assists, while Bowling Green converted the Lady Flames’ 19 turnovers into 16 points. The Lady Flames’ 54 points in the paint and +24 rebound margin both established new season highs.
Brett hit two free throws with 5:33 left in the contest, providing Bowling Green its largest lead of the day at 62-58.
Liberty then reeled off a decisive 11-0 run over the next 2:18, headlined by Williams’ six points and Berkman’s aforementioned three-point play.
Smeenge closed out the run with a layup at the 3:15 mark, making it 69-62, Liberty. The closest Bowling Green got the rest of the way was the final score of 76-72, after Brett’s half-court shot connected at the buzzer.
- The first 10 minutes of play featured five ties and three lead changes. Liberty emerged with a 23-18 advantage, thanks in large part to a 10-0 run late in the stanza.
- Liberty asserted itself in the interior early on, recording six offensive boards and 14 points in the paint during the first quarter.
- Liberty ran off six quick points during the half’s final 49 seconds, taking its first double-digit lead of the afternoon (45-35) into halftime.
- Dee Brown scored nine points to pace the Lady Flames’ balanced scoring attack. Liberty shot 52.8 percent (19-of-36) in the opening half, aided greatly by 32 points in the paint.
- Priscilla Smeenge’s layup with 5:34 to play in the third quarter extended the Lady Flames’ lead to 55-42.
- Bowling Green answered with an 11-0 run and trailed by only three (57-54) heading to the final period.
- Jocelyn Tate scored eight points in the third quarter for the Falcons, who forced nine Liberty turnovers during the stanza.
- Liberty managed only one point over the first 4:49 of the final period, falling behind by four.
- All 19 of the Lady Flames’ points during the fourth quarter were scored by Williams (7), Berkman (6) and Smeenge (6).
Notes and Nuggets
- Berkman’s double-double was her third of the season and the fourth of her career. Her 15 rebounds were the most by a Lady Flame since Keyen Green grabbed 16 boards against Jacksonville on Jan. 11, 2020.
- Williams (11 points) and Smeenge (10 points) each set new season highs in the scoring column, while Brown (11 points) and Bella Smuda (8 points) matched their season highs.
- This was the first time Liberty has put five players into double figures since Feb. 13, 2021 at Bellarmine.
- After attempting six free throws during her first 21 games at Liberty, Smeenge went to the line six times on Sunday and hit all six of them.
- Green is now 500-204 in 23 seasons at Liberty. He is the second Liberty head coach in any sport ever to win 500 games, joining former softball coach Paul Wetmore (547 wins between 1994-2013).
- Liberty is now 129-2 under Green when shooting 50 percent or better from the field, including 2-0 this season.
- Liberty, which defeated Navy 63-42 on Saturday, has now gone 2-0 in two of its three all-time appearances at the Navy Classic. The Lady Flames also went unbeaten at the 2009 Navy Classic.
- Sunday marked the first-ever meeting between Liberty and Bowling Green. The Lady Flames have now defeated the 2021 MAC regular-season champion (Bowling Green) and the 2022 MAC preseason favorite (Ohio) during this season’s first six games.
- Liberty concludes the month of November with a 5-1 record, giving the Lady Flames their best start to a season since the 2009-10 Lady Flames also began 5-1.
- Sunday was Liberty’s fourth game of the season decided by five points or fewer. The Lady Flames are now 3-1 in those tight contests.
Liberty will conclude its road swing on Wednesday with a visit to Commonwealth foe Hampton (1-4). Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the HU Convocation Center for the Lady Flames’ first of two straight matchups with Big South Conference opponents.