Women’s basketball: UMBC withstands Liberty comeback for 62-51 win

libertyLiberty shaved a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit to three, but UMBC held on for a 62-51 victory during Thursday’s Cavalier Classic matchup at Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena.

Trailing by a 45-30 score entering the final 10 minutes, the Lady Flames outscored the Retrievers by an 18-6 count to start the quarter. Liberty was within 51-48 after Charlottesville KK Barbour converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:59remaining.

However, that’s as close as Liberty would get, as Taylor McCarley halted the Lady Flames’ momentum with a driving floater on the next UMBC possession and the Retrievers made 9-of-10 free throws over the final 1:02 to seal the win.

The Lady Flames close their non-conference schedule with a 1-10 record after suffering their fourth straight loss overall and their ninth consecutive setback away from Lynchburg. Keyen Green’s third double-double of the season (16 points, 16 rebounds) earned the freshman a spot on the Cavalier Classic All-Tournament Team.

Liberty could not overcome 19 turnovers or an off shooting night, though. The Lady Flames ended up at 26.9 percent (18-of-67) from the floor, 20 percent (6-of-30) from three-point range and 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from the foul line.

UMBC won for the second time in its last three outings, boosting its season record to 4-8. McCarley and Tyler Moore scored 16 points apiece to lead a quartet of Retrievers in double digits. UMBC also shot 78.6 percent (22-of-28) from the charity stripe, including 87 percent (20-of-23) after halftime.

Moore hit two three-pointers during an early 8-0 run for UMBC, giving the Retrievers an 8-2 advantage with 5:53 to play in the first quarter. Liberty then outscored UMBC, 12-4, over the next 3:57. Green scored 10 of those points, including a layup off of a nice feed from Nene Johnson which put the Lady Flames on top, 14-12, at the 1:56 mark.

The Retrievers scored the final five points of the opening quarter, taking a 17-14 advantage after 10 minutes. The first quarter, which saw three ties and three lead changes, featured 10 points in the paint from each team.

Liberty held UMBC without a point for more than four minutes to start the second quarter but scored only five tallies of its own during that time. Barbour’s jumper from the paint with 6:57 on the clock provided the Lady Flames a 19-17 edge.

However, Liberty missed its final eight field goal attempts of the first half, enabling the Retrievers to outscore the Lady Flames, 9-1, over the final 5:51. UMBC hit two of its four first-half triples during that span, taking a 26-20 lead into halftime.

Green recorded a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) during the first half alone, helping Liberty control the boards by a 31-18 count. The Lady Flames were victimized by poor shooting (7-30 FG, 23.3 percent; 1-10 3FG, 10 percent) and 13 turnovers during the opening half.

UMBC’s Moore led all players with 11 points in the first 20 minutes, including a trio of three-pointers.

Back-to-back triples by Moore and Laura Castaldo capped off an 8-2 Retrievers surge to begin the third quarter, extending UMBC’s lead to 34-22 at 6:19. Green scored six points in a span of 1:07, pulling the Lady Flames to within 36-30 with 3:17 to play in the quarter.

The Retrievers then closed the third period with a 9-0 run, scoring seven of those points at the free throw line to claim a 45-30 lead.

Liberty had made only one triple during the first three quarters, but hit three during a 10-1 burst to begin the fourth. Lela Sellers’ trifecta with 5:33 remaining trimmed the white-clad Lady Flames’ deficit to 46-40.

Green fouled out with 4:36 remaining, on a McCarley three-point play which pushed the UMBC lead back to nine (49-40).

Liberty then scored eight of the next 10 points, capped off by Barbour’s aforementioned three-point play. However, the Lady Flames made just one of their final eight shot attempts to close out their first meeting with their former Big South rival since Jan. 29, 1998.

Liberty produced a 21-point fourth quarter, thanks in large part to five triples. But UMBC kept the Lady Flames at bay by sinking 84.6 percent (11-of-13) fourth-quarter free throws and getting nine McCarley points during the stanza.

For the game, UMBC connected on only 31.5 percent (17-of-54) of its field goals, but shot three-pointers at a 35.3 percent (6-of-17) rate.

Speaking of three-pointers, Liberty attempted 30 in a single game for the first time since Jan. 24, 2000 at Charleston Southern. Fifteen of those shots came in the fourth quarter alone.

Iva Ilic finished 2-of-16 from three-point range, hoisting the third-most triples in a game in program history.

Liberty finished with a 53-39 rebounding advantage for the game, matching its season high with 25 offensive boards. The Lady Flames also blocked a season-best seven shots, including a career-high three rejections by Barbour.

Barbour also matched her career high of seven points and pulled down nine rebounds (six offensive) for the Lady Flames.

Sellers chipped in seven points and six boards, while Johnson equaled her season high of seven assists.

Lucrezia Costa came off the UMBC bench for a career high 14 points and six rebounds, while Castaldo contributed 11 points for the victors.

 

Up Next

Liberty will tip off its 18-game Big South Conference schedule on Tuesday, when the Lady Flames travel to Charleston Southern (6-4). Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. inside the Buc Dome. Liberty has won 12 straight meetings with CSU, including five consecutive visits to Charleston.



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