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Green picks up 500th victory as Liberty edges Bowling Green

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Liberty Memphis Women's Basketball

Liberty head coach Carey Green watches from the sidelines during a game against Memphis on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 at Liberty Arena in Lynchburg, Va.

Carey Green made rebounding a priority when he was hired as the Liberty women’s basketball coach in 1999. The strong post presence has helped the Flames rack up victories under his guidance.

It was fitting that rebounding helped Green reach the 500-win milestone Sunday.

Mya Berkman’s offensive rebound and subsequent three-point play gave Liberty the lead for good midway through the fourth quarter as Green recorded his 500th career victory in a 76-72 win over Bowling Green to cap the Navy Classic at Alumni Hall in Annapolis, Maryland.

Green improved to 500-204 in his 23rd season at Liberty. He is the second Liberty head coach in any sport to win 500 games. Former softball coach Paul Wetmore won 547 games between 1994 and 2013.

Berkman finished with her third double-double of the season with 17 points and 15 rebounds. The forward helped Liberty (5-1) own a 44-20 rebounding edge, and the Flames turned 17 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points.

The three-point play with 4:40 remaining gave the Flames a 63-62 lead with 4:40 remaining.

It was part of a 16-2 run spanning nearly five minutes that saw Liberty erase a 62-58 deficit and take a 74-64 lead with 23 seconds remaining.

The Flames shot a blistering 51% from the floor. They improved to 129-2 under Green when shooting 50% or better from the field.

The second half featured a major run from each team.

Bowling Green (1-4) used a 20-3 run to overcome a 13-point deficit to take a 62-58 lead on Elissa Brett’s free throws with 5:33 remaining.

Brett finished with 17 points.

Dee Brown and Kennedi Williams scored 11 points apiece for Liberty. Priscilla Smeenge and Bridgette Rettstatt each scored 10 points.

Smeenge went 6 for 6 from the free-throw line. She made four free throws in the final 23 seconds.

The Flames improved to 2-0 against teams from the Mid-American Conference this season. Bowling Green was the 2021 MAC regular-season champion and Ohio was the MAC preseason favorite.

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