RICHMOND, Va. – Junior forward Courtney Hurt posted her ninth straight double-double with a game-high 26 points and 15 rebounds but Virginia Commonwealth University couldn't erase a 13-point halftime deficit and fell 59-57 Tuesday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
VCU falls for the second time in its last three outings and drops to 4-5 on the season, while Liberty improves to 4-6.
Redshirt-sophomore Sonia Johnson added 10 points and eight rebounds for VCU, and freshman Jacqueline Brewer contributed 10 points and three steals. Junior Jennifer Lane (pictured, left) chipped in game highs of five assists and four thefts.
Liberty jumped out to a 12-4 advantage on a layup by Devon Brown at the 13:08 mark in the opening period but VCU fought back and pulled within 14-11 on a layup by Hurt less than three minutes later.
Johnson kept VCU within 19-16 on a layup with 8:17 to go but Liberty continued to pressure and used a 14-3 spurt, and built a 14-point advantage on a Jelena Antic basket with 2:20 showing before the break.
VCU shot just 26.7 percent from the field in the first half, while Liberty connected on 44.8 percent on its way to a 13-point halftime lead.
Down 11 with 17 minutes left, the Rams caught fire and reeled off 21 of the next 26 points and took its largest lead of the game at 46-41 on back-to-back 3-pointers by Brewer with 10:54 showing. VCU held at least a two-point advantage over the next five minutes as the Flames pulled within 50-48 on a layup by Emily Frazier with 5:15 remaining.
Liberty continued to chip away and knotted the game at 50-50 less than a minute later and Antic put the Flames back on top for good with 3:46 to go. Trailing 57-52, Hurt nailed a triple to pull VCU within 57-55 with 49 seconds showing. She then drove to the basket to get the Rams within one with two seconds left but it was too late to complete the rally.
Antic paced three Liberty players in double figures with 12 points, 10 rebounds and a game-high tying five assists. Emily Frazier added 12 and Devon Brown chipped in 10 off the bench.
VCU wraps up its non-conference schedule on Thursday, Dec. 23 at Radford. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.