NORFOLK, Va. -- In the first game under first-year head coach Nikki McCray-Penson, the Old Dominion women's basketball team fell to Liberty, 63-55, in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT on Friday afternoon at the Ted Constant Center.
Odegua Oigbokie scored a team-high 14 points, one shy of her career high, and Ashley Jackson added seven points and a career-high eight assists, but a strong start by Liberty (1-0) proved to be too much for Old Dominion (0-1) to overcome in the 2017-18 season opener.
"I thought in the first half we played at Liberty's tempo," said McCray. "In the second half, we played at our tempo. So, really it was the tale of two halves."
Liberty closed the first quarter on an 11-0 run and led by 19-6 at the end of the first. The Flames continued that momentum into the second quarter, outscoring ODU, 14-12, in the second to carry a 33-18 lead into the half.
Liberty shot 57 percent in the opening half and held a 17-9 advantage on the glass.
In the second half, the Monarchs utilized a 10-0 run midway through the third to close the gap to single digits at 45-37 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth, ODU was able to close the margin to eight on multiple occasions, but turnovers plagued ODU down the stretch en route to the eight-point defeat.
Overall, ODU outscored Liberty, 37-30, in the second half behind 65 percent shooting and a 15-8 advantage in rebounds.
"If we played the first half like we did the second half, it's a different ballgame," said McCray.
True freshman guard Victoria Morris finished second in the team in scoring with 10 points, including a pair of threes. Hofstra transfer Kelly Loftus, in her first career game at ODU, finished with eight points and five rebounds, while MaKayla Timmons added five points and four assists.
"Our fans saw glimpses of how good this team can be," said McCray. "I thought we executed in the second half and hit some shots. I'm really proud of that effort."
Up next, the Monarchs drop into a four-team consolation pod as part of the Preseason WNIT. Opponents and game times will be determined.
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