Strong 2nd Half Sends Liberty Past Grand Canyon, 76-61
Bridgette Rettstatt scored 19 of her season-high 24 points after halftime during Friday’s opening game of the South Padre Island Classic, helping Liberty break open a close contest with Grand Canyon. The Lady Flames went on to claim their seventh consecutive victory by a 76-61 score at the South Padre Island Convention Centre.
Liberty improves to 10-1 with its seventh straight victory after shooting a season-best 56 percent (28-of-50) from the field and forcing 22 Grand Canyon turnovers. Rettstatt’s 24 points put her within one of 1,000 for her career.
Grand Canyon drops to 5-4 with its third straight loss. The Antelopes shot just 37 percent (10-of-27) during the second half as Liberty pulled away during the first-ever meeting between the two squads.
Box Score Highlights
Liberty Individuals: Rettstatt – 24 points, 7 rebounds, 3-4 3FG; Kennedi Williams – 11 points, 3 assists; Jordan Bailey – 10 points; Dee Brown – 9 points, 3 assists, 5 steals; Bella Smuda – 8 points, 8 rebounds.
Grand Canyon Individuals: Jay McChristine – 15 points, 3 steals; Tiarra Brown – 12 points, 6 rebounds; Amara Graham – 12 points, 5 assists, 3-8 3FG.
Key Team Stats: Liberty utilized its significant size advantage in the rebounding (30-23), points in the paint (40-24) and second-chance points (12-2) categories. The Lady Flames shot a season-high 78.9 percent (15-of-19) from the free throw line. Liberty came up with more steals (11-9) than the team which ranks No. 1 nationally with 16.6 spg.
Rettstatt single-handedly outscored GCU, 11-7, during a 3:29 stretch of the third quarter, doubling the Lady Flames’ advantage from six to 12 during that span.
The Antelopes got no closer than nine during the game’s final 11:36.
- Liberty shot 60 percent (6-of-10) during the opening period but trailed 15-14 after committing seven turnovers.
- Amara Graham scored eight points for GCU, knocking down a pair of triples, as the Antelopes became the first team to lead Liberty at the end of the first quarter this season.Second Quarter
- A Jordan Bailey hoop off a nice feed from Alyssa Iverson gave Liberty a lead (18-17) it did not relinquish for the remainder of the opening half.
- The Lady Flames led by as many as eight (31-23) and took a 35-30 halftime advantage after Kennedi Williams’ floater at the buzzer.
- Bridgette Rettstatt tallied 11 third-quarter points, including eight straight Liberty tallies at one point. Her free throws with 1:36 to play extended the Lady Flames’ advantage to a dozen at 53-41.
- The Antelopes then pulled back within 54-45 heading to the final period.
- GCU was still within nine (66-57) when Tianna Brown hit a triple with 3:21 to play.
- Liberty then sealed its victory with a 10-0 run, aided by Rettstatt’s final five markers of the afternoon.
Notes and Nuggets
- Rettstatt’s 24 points marked a season high and were just one shy of her career high. She scored in double figures for the seventh straight contest and recorded the fifth 20-point contest of her career.
- Williams (11 points) and Bailey (10 points) both matched season highs for points.
- Brown’s five steals set a career high and were the most by a Lady Flame since Jan. 6, 2020, when Rettstatt had five at FGCU.
- This is the quickest Liberty has gotten to 10 wins since the 2007-08 Lady Flames also began 10-1 on their way to a 28-4 season.
- The Lady Flames are now 130-2 under Carey Green when shooting 50 percent or better, including 3-0 this season.
- Liberty is 10-0 when winning the rebounding battle this season.
- Liberty improves to 2-0 all-time against WAC opponents and will face another WAC foe on Saturday, in UTRGV.
Liberty will wrap up its stay in South Padre Island on Saturday, facing tournament host UTRGV at 2 p.m. Eastern at the South Padre Island Convention Centre. It will mark the first-ever matchup between the Lady Flames and Vaqueros.