Liberty girls basketball coach Chad Kapanui wouldn’t admit to cracking a smile when he saw Arbor View open Monday’s game in a 2-3 zone.
But just 10 seconds deep into the second quarter, the Patriots hit their fourth 3-pointer of the game and were on cruise control the rest of the night.
Liberty took advantage of open shots on the perimeter to build a double-figure lead early and roll past the visiting Aggies, 59-41.
“We’ve been practicing a lot against 2-3 zones because I know most teams will come out in that against us,” said Kapanui, whose team scored the first 10 points of the game. “We’ve been moving the ball a lot. We shot well early, and that kind of separated us.”
With the Aggies trying to limit entry passes to 6-foot-2-inch post Paris Strawther, a UNLV signee, Liberty’s guards took advantage early.
Kaily Kaimikaua hit three 3-pointers, and Kealy Brown added a pair of long shots as Liberty made 6 of 12 treys in the first half en route to a 31-10 lead.
Strawther, Liberty’s leading scorer at 14.9 points per game, had three points and three rebounds at the half, but Brown and Kaimikaua combined for 19 points.
“Sometimes it’s a guards’ night, and sometimes it’s a posts’ night,” Kapanui said. “In the first half, it was definitely a guards’ night. Every team is trying to keep the ball away from Paris. We did a better job getting the ball to her in the second half.”
Strawther got in on the 3-point fun in the second half, surpassing the 1,000-career point mark when she drained a trey from the right wing just less than three minutes into the third quarter. She added another 3-pointer in the quarter and finished with 12 points.
In the meantime, Liberty (13-3) never let the Aggies (12-7) get untracked offensively. Arbor View made just 1 of 10 shots and committed 10 turnovers in the second quarter and never got closer than a 16-point deficit in the second half.
The Patriots limited Arbor View star Ariona Gill to seven points on 3 of 16 shooting.
“We just played how we always played, straight man,” Kapanui said. “We just played her like we play any other game. I had Aubre (Fortner) on her, and I had Kealy on her, and they played well.”
Brown led Liberty with 17 points and nine rebounds. Kaimikaua added nine points.
Caroline Rivera led the Aggies with 11 points.
Contact reporter Bartt Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 387-5230.