Liberty won an offensive shootout, Tuesday evening at ETSU's Brooks Gym, holding off a furious comeback effort by the Buccaneers for an 89-86 victory.
The Lady Flames led 88-76 with 2:17 remaining, but their second win of the season was not secure until Emily Lytle hit a free throw with 15.2 seconds left and ETSU's Erica Haynes-Overton missed a three-pointer at the final buzzer.
Liberty improves to 2-6 on the season after halting a four-game losing streak with its first road win of 2018-19. Lytle's game-high 21 points paced four Lady Flames in double figures as the visitors posted their highest scoring output this season.
ETSU, the Southern Conference's preseason co-favorite, falls to 1-10 despite its five double-digit scorers and nine three-pointers.
Box Score Highlights
Liberty Individuals: Emily Lytle – 21 points, 5 rebounds; Ashtyn Baker – 18 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists; Bridgette Rettstatt – 16 points, 9 rebounds; Ria Gulley – 10 points, 3-4 3FG; Tatyana Crowder – 8 points, 5 rebounds; Mya McMillian – 8 points
ETSU Individuals: Lexus Spears – 19 points, 3 blocks; Carley Lytton – 17 points, 5-8 3FG; Kaia Upton – 14 points, 6 assists; Erica Haynes-Overton – 12 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 steals; Britney Snowden – 12 points
Key Team Stats: Liberty shot a season-high 55.6 percent (35-of-63) from the field, aided by a season-high 48 points in the paint. The Lady Flames outrebounded the Buccaneers by 20 (47-27), converting 17 offensive boards into 21 second-chance points. ETSU forced 24 Liberty turnovers and got exactly half (43) of its points off the bench.
After trailing for most of the first quarter, the Lady Flames scorched the nets for 31 points in the second period. Liberty shot 73.3 percent (11-of-15) during the stanza, which put it ahead for good. Ria Gulley scored seven second-quarter points, including back-to-back triples early in the stanza which started a key 19-5 surge.
• A frenetic first quarter which featured 19 turnovers (10 by Liberty, 9 by ETSU) saw the home team lead by as many as six points on its way to a 19-18 edge through 10 minutes of play.
• Emily Lytle scored seven first-quarter points and Bridgette Rettstatt grabbed five boards, helping Liberty claim a 12-6 advantage on the glass.
• Back-to-back triples by Ria Gulley kick-started a 19-5 Liberty run which gave the Lady Flames their largest lead of the opening half (37-26).
• Liberty matched a program record with 31 second-quarter points. As a result, the Lady Flames owned a 49-40 halftime cushion following their highest-scoring half of the season.
• Carley Lytton tried to spark an ETSU comeback by nailing three triples in the third quarter.
• However, Liberty kept its lead above five points for the entire period thanks in large part to Ashtyn Baker. The sophomore tallied 13 third-quarter points, keeping Liberty in front 76-62 heading to the fourth.
• Liberty led 88-76 after Bridgette Rettstatt made a pair of free throws with 2:17 to play.
• After being held in check for much of the game, ETSU's Erica Haynes-Overton recorded six points, two steals, a rebound and an assist during her team's ensuing 10-0 run. However, she could not quite connect on a deep triple from the right wing that would have forced overtime.
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green Quotes
"We had four girls in double figures. We got some big contributions out of a lot of players. It was a great team win. We made it a little closer than we wanted and at times our defense was questionable. But we hung in there and got the win. We outrebounded them by 20 and pulled down 17 offensive boards. That was very important."
Notes and Nuggets
• Lytle's 21 points marked her third 20-point game in eight contests as a Lady Flame. She scored seven of the Lady Flames' 13 fourth-quarter points.
• Baker's eight rebounds were a career high, while her 18 points and four assists were both season highs.
• Rettstatt set a new career high with 16 points.
• Crowder matched season highs for points (8) and rebounds (5).
• McMillian finished with a career-high eight points, making all three of her field goals and both of her free throws. The freshman had totaled 11 points in her first five collegiate appearances.
• The Lady Flames improved to 116-2 under Carey Green when making at least 50 percent of their field goals, doing so for the first time this season.
• Liberty had lost five straight games away from the Vines Center, dating back to last season.
• The Lady Flames improved to 6-7 all-time against ETSU, having won four straight matchups with the Buccaneers.
Liberty will take nine days off from competition to focus on final exams before returning to action on Dec. 13 at East Carolina (5-2). The first-ever meeting between the Lady Flames and Pirates will tip off at 11:30 a.m. at Minges Coliseum in Greenville, N.C. It will mark Liberty's second meeting with an American Athletic Conference opponent in program history, after facing Houston last season (Nov. 24, 2017).
Date: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018
Location: Greenville, N.C. (Minges Coliseum)
TV: Pirates All-Access
Radio: LFSN Radio (90.9 FM The Light Lynchburg)
Tipoff: 11:30 a.m.