CONWAY, Ark. – For the third time in six days, the Sugar Bear basketball team Liberty will play at the Farris Center on Saturday, January 22. The third game of a four-game home standings, game time against the Flames is set at 1 p.m.
Central Arkansas looks set to come back in the victory column after falling in its final game against Jacksonville State. After a strong first half, in which the score was tied at halftime, the attack diluted in the third quarter, allowing the Gamecocks to leave.
Hannah Langhic and Randrea Wright led the team in scoring, netting 13 each. Rita James posted a season-high seven points and five rebounds. The defensive energy was a big part of why the game stayed so close. The Sugar Bears held Jacksonville State to just 38 percent of shots in the second quarter, and allowed only one free throw in the first half, giving the Sugar Bears an opportunity to stay close. After a devastating third, the defense closed again in the fourth, taking just nine points on 27 percent shooting.
On offense, a young team had to play without the top scorer in Lucy Ibeh. Third in the ASUN in points (15.4 ppg) and first in rebounds (10.9), Ibeh’s absence opened the door for players like Ruth Balogunwhich saw its highest number of minutes in the month of January. Jayla Codyback after missing several games, played 12 minutes off the bench, recording a block and a rebound.
On the other side of the floor, Liberty has a 16-2 record, including an ASUN record of 4-1. The team’s only losses are a two-point heartthrob against the Memphis Tigers and a four-point stumble at Florida Gulf Coast University. Most recently, the team took a win out of Jacksonville and scored the winning basket with 16 seconds left to take a 49-48 win.
Mya Berkman, who led the team with 12 points and 11 rebounds, also leads the team in both categories this year. With 12.8 points per game and an average of 7.2 rebounds, she leads a team by 16 points per game. The Liberty defense is the fifth-highest-scoring defense in the nation, with just 50.3 points per game.
Liberty’s head coach is Carey Green. Green has been at the helm since 1999 and has won 70 percent of his matches. He started the season with 495 wins and reached the 500 milestone against Bowling Green on November 28.
Tip-off against the Flames is set for 1pm at the Farris Center. The game will air on ESPN+, on the radio on 91.3 The Bear, with live stats available here.