WBB Game Day: Bellarmine
Live Video (ESPN+)
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Thursday – 11 a.m.
Liberty Flames Sports Network – Radio
WQLU 90.9 FM The Light
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Jamie Hall
The Starting 5 – Liberty’s Top Storylines
• Liberty (19-2, 7-1 ASUN) tips off a two-game swing through Kentucky with a Thursday matinee at Bellarmine (3-16, 0-8 ASUN).
• Off to its best start to a season since 2007-08, Liberty will aim to reach 20 wins for the 21st time in the last 26 seasons. If successful, the Lady Flames would become either the nation’s second or third team to reach 20 wins this season, depending on NC State’s outcome Tuesday. South Carolina reached 20 Sunday.
• Liberty went 3-0 against Bellarmine last season in the first three meetings between the two teams, including a pair of wins at Freedom Hall and one in the ASUN quarterfinals.
• “Super senior” Bridgette Rettstatt will tie Liberty’s career games played record with her 132nd career appearance on Thursday. She scored a game-high 19 points Saturday vs. Jacksonville State, reaching double figures for the 13th time in her last 15 outings.
• Bella Smuda excelled against Bellarmine last season as a freshman, totaling 42 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks in 49 total minutes played. The 6-5 center shot 72 percent (18-of-25) against the Knights.
Notes and Anecdotes – Liberty vs. Bellarmine
• Liberty and Bellarmine enter Thursday’s game heading in different directions. The Lady Flames have won four in a row and are 16-1 in their last 17 games, while the Knights are aiming to halt an eight-game losing streak.
• Liberty is 3-3 all-time playing in Louisville, including 2-1 in Freedom Hall. Prior to last season’s pair of victories over Bellarmine, Liberty lost 83-77 to Kentucky on March 20, 2010 at Freedom Hall in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
• Liberty will tip off a game before noon for the first time since Jan. 27, 2020 at North Florida. The Lady Flames have lost four straight contests which tipped before noon. Their last victory in a game with a morning tip was a 64-38 home win over West Liberty on Dec. 10, 2016.
• The Lady Flames lead the ASUN with a +12.4 rebound margin, while Bellarmine ranks last at -6.1.
• Liberty’s Carey Green and Bellarmine’s Chancellor Dugan have combined for nearly 1,000 victories (985) in 54 total seasons of collegiate head coaching. Green is 3-0 coaching against Dugan.
• The ASUN East Division is 15-3 against the West Division so far this season. Liberty is 3-0 versus West Division opponents, while Bellarmine is 0-3 against the East.
1 Away From 20
• Liberty is one victory away from recording its 21st 20-win season in the last 26 years, including its 18th in 23 seasons under Carey Green.
• If the Lady Flames win on Thursday, they will become either the second or third NCAA Division I team to reach 20 victories this season. No. 1 South Carolina posted its 20th win on Sunday, and No. 3 NC State had a chance to notch win No. 20 on Tuesday at Notre Dame.
• If Liberty is victorious at Bellarmine, it would equal the second-fewest games (22) to reach 20 wins in program history, matching the 2007-08 Lady Flames.
A Winning Combination
• Liberty ranks No. 4 nationally in field goal percentage defense (32.8), No. 4 nationally in rebound margin (+12.4) and No. 5 nationally in scoring defense (51.3 ppg).
• The Lady Flames and No. 1 South Carolina are the only teams who currently rank among the top 10 nationally for field goal percentage defense, scoring defense and rebound margin.
• Liberty has held four teams to their lowest scoring output of the season thus far, including Lee (39), Navy (42), UTRGV (32) and Virginia Tech (40). The Hokies’ 40 points at Liberty on Dec. 7 were their fewest in a game since Jan. 26, 2017.