No. 24 FGCU women fend off Liberty 69-61 in Bell’s return
Feb 24, 2022, 4:37 AM | Updated: 6:38 pm
LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Kierstan Bell tossed in 23 points in her return to action and Tishara Morehouse scored 20 to power No. 24 Florida Gulf Coast to a 69-61 victory over Liberty on Thursday night.
Bell, who is averaging 23.4 points per game for the Eagles (25-2, 14-1 Atlantic Sun Conference), suffered a partially torn meniscus in her knee in a 78-41 victory over Stetson on Jan. 19. She missed nine games, but returned in time to help FGCU stake claim to the East Division title. Liberty saw its 10-game winning streak end. The Flames (25-3, 13-2) hadn’t lost since losing to FGCU 73-69 on Jan. 15.
Morehouse scored nine points and Bell added eight to guide FGCU to a 30-28 halftime lead.
The Eagles stayed in front until Bridgette Rettstatt buried a 3-pointer to pull Liberty even at 43 just 14 seconds into the final quarter. Karli Seay answered with a 3-pointer and FGCU maintained a lead until Alyssa Iverson made the first of two free throws to knot the game at 58 with 2:46 left.
Morehouse sank 3 of 4 free throws over the next 57 seconds, Priscilla Smeenge missed two free throws for Liberty and Bell followed with a 3-pointer to push the Eagles’ advantage to six with 63 seconds left. Rettstatt missed a jumper for Liberty coming out of a timeout, Morehouse grabbed the rebound, was fouled and hit both free throws to wrap up the victory.
Bell hit four 3-pointers, had three steals, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots for the Eagles, who are 10-0 all-time versus Liberty. Morehouse added six assists and three steals.
Rettstatt finished with her fourth double-double — 15 points and 13 rebounds — for Liberty. Iverson added 13 points, while Mya Berkman pitched in with 10 points and seven boards.
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