Mar 7, 2006

Nine straight conference titles

by Adam Trent


The Lady Flames defeated Birmingham-Southern 60-47 on Monday and finished the regular season with a 69-58 win over Radford. The wins put the Lady Flames at a perfect 12-0 home record heading into the conference tournament. Because Liberty won the regular season championship, the Lady Flames will be able to play all tournament games in the Vines Center. 

On Monday night, the Birmingham-Southern Panthers came to Lynchburg looking for their first win ever against the Lady Flames. They will continue looking. Liberty was able to pull away in the second half to win 60-47. 

The game was very physical, as both teams tried to attack and draw fouls. Unlike the UNC-Asheville game a week earlier, very few were called. However, that did not stop Liberty from going to the basket and playing aggressive defense. 

“They feel more comfortable man-to-man. It defines who to guard,” Head Coach Carey Green said.
For the game, Liberty was led by freshman Moriah Frazee with 14 points, and freshman Rachel Hammond had 12. No Panther was able to score double digits, as Stacey Anthony and Ashley Thornton both led the squad with nine points each. 

On Saturday afternoon, Liberty’s rival Radford paid a visit to the Vines Center. Coming into the game, Radford held a 21-20 series advantage against the Lady Flames. The series record is now tied at 21 each as the Lady Flames downed the Highlanders 69-58. 

After a close first half, the Lady Flames ignited and led by as much as 13 in the second. Radford made several attempts to come back, getting to within six at one point, but the Lady Flames remained hot and increased their lead for the win. 

“We played hard in spurts. We started the first half flat and had to work hard to get out of the hole we dug ourselves in. I think that the wall we ran into was fatigue,” said Radford Head Coach and former Lady Flame Jeri Porter. 

For the game, Liberty used a balanced scoring attack against the Highlanders. Moriah Frazee had 15 points, followed by Courtney Watkins with 11 points and Roli-Ann Nikagbatse with 10. Liberty’s bench outscored Radford’s 21-6. 

“We have a deep bench. (Green) can go to us if he needs us,” said guard Michelle Parker, who had five points. 

With the win, the Lady Flames finished the season a perfect 12-0 at home. The list of Furnace burn victims includes all Big South foes, in-state rival William and Mary and Southern Methodist University from Conference USA. Green jokingly told Chris Lang of the News and Advance not to print that due to current difficulties of getting home games against quality teams. 

The Lady Flames look to stay perfect at home in the upcoming Big South Tournament, facing eighth seed Charleston-Southern on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. 

High Point, the only Big South team to beat Liberty this year, is the second seed with a 9-5 conference record. They will host seventh seed UNC-Asheville. 

Coastal Carolina earned the third seed and will host sixth seeded Birmingham-Southern. Winthrop and Radford tied Coastal for third, but Coastal had the tie-breaker. Winthrop claimed the fourth seed by winning a coin toss over Radford and will host the Highlanders. 

Liberty, providing they win over Charleston-Southern, will face the winner of Winthrop/Radford in the semifinals at the Vines Center on Friday. The championship game will be held on Saturday.

Contact Adam Trent at jatrent@liberty.edu.
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