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WBB Game Day Central: Winthrop
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Liberty (10-6, 6-1 Big South) will square off with Big South co-leader Winthrop (12-4, 6-1 Big South) on Thursday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum for a game that will determine the outright leader in the conference standings.
The "Starting Five" - Today's Top Storylines
1) Liberty (first) and Winthrop (second) were the top two teams in the Big South preseason poll, and both teams have delivered so far in 2013-14. The Lady Flames and Eagles currently share the Big South lead at 6-1. All other Big South squads have already lost three or more conference games.
2) A number of streaks will be on the line on Thursday. Liberty has won four straight games overall and back-to-back road contests. Winthrop is on a three-game winning streak and is a perfect 6-0 at the Winthrop Coliseum this season.
3) Liberty's Ashley Rininger has equaled her career-long streak with four straight double-doubles, averaging 20.0 ppg and 10.8 rpg during the span. She enters Thursday's game eight points shy of 500 for her career.
4) Liberty will try to limit Winthrop senior point guard Dequesha McClanahan, the reigning Big South Player of the Year. She averaged 26.0 ppg against the Lady Flames in 2012-13 and sits just 29 points away from 2,000 for her career.
5) Player availability will be something to watch on Thursday. Liberty played without both Simone Brown and Sadalia Ellis during its most recent game. Meanwhile, Winthrop's Schaquilla Nunn returned from injury to play 15 minutes at Coastal Carolina on Monday and sophomore Aliyah Kilpatrick could make her 2013-14 season debut Thursday.
Liberty vs. Winthrop At a Glance
Series Record: Liberty leads, 44-8.
Current Streak: Liberty has won two consecutive meetings.
Series Record at Winthrop: Liberty leads, 17-7.
Current Streak at Winthrop: Liberty won the most recent meeting.
Last Meeting Overall: Liberty 69, Winthrop 54 (Feb. 14, 2013 at Liberty)
Last Meeting at Winthrop: Liberty 90, Winthrop 57 (Dec. 29, 2012)
Winthrop's Last Series Victory: Winthrop 71, Liberty 69 (Feb. 18, 2012 at Winthrop)
Winthrop's Last Series Victory at Home: Same
Liberty Head Coach: Carey Green
Overall Record (Seasons): 347-116 (15th Season)
Record at Liberty (Seasons): Same
Record vs. Winthrop: 30-2
Winthrop Head Coach: Kevin Cook
Overall Record (Seasons): 80-72 (Sixth Season)
Record at Winthrop (Seasons): 33-16 (Second Season)
Record vs. Liberty: 0-2
Notes and Anecdotes
• The winner of Thursday's game will take over sole possession of the lead in the Big South Conference, while the losing team will have second place to itself.
• Winthrop is 6-0 at home this season and brings a three-game winning streak into Thursday's tilt. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames have won four straight games overall and back-to-back road contests.
• Winthrop senior point guard Dequesha McClanahan, the reigning Big South Player of the Year, is 29 points shy of becoming the first player in program history and the fifth player in conference history to score 2,000 career points. McClanahan, who averaged 26.0 ppg against Liberty last season, ranks No. 3 nationally with 7.8 apg.
• The Eagles also boast the 2012-13 Big South Freshman of the Year in Schaquilla Nunn (11.9 ppg, 10.7 rpg) and a candidate for this year's Big South Freshman of the Year award, Erica Williams (14.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg).
• Winthrop sophomore guard Aliyah Kilpatrick, a teammate of Liberty's Jaymee Fisher-Davis at Butler High School, could return to the Eagles' lineup for the first time this season on Thursday. She averaged 10.5 ppg as a freshman in 2012-13.
• Ashley Rininger is playing a team-high 28.3 minutes per game for Liberty. That would rank her sixth on Winthrop's squad, which is led by McClanahan's 37.2 mpg.
At Home on the Road
Liberty has played well away from the Vines Center in recent years, posting double-digit road victories in each of the past four seasons.
• The Lady Flames are 4-3 on the road this season. They have won back-to-back road tilts and four of their last five.
• Liberty is 4-1 in its last five visits to the Winthrop Coliseum.
Liberty has won four games in a row, and a victory on Thursday would enable the Lady Flames to equal their longest winning streak of the 2013-14 season. The following are a few keys to the Lady Flames' current winning streak.
• Ashley Rininger has recorded four double-doubles and is averaging 20.0 ppg, 10.8 rpg and 2.0 bpg.
• Reagan Miller, who has started all four games, is posting 10.8 ppg and shooting 55.6 percent (10-of-18) from three-point range.
• The Lady Flames are shooting 78.7 percent from the free throw line and averaging just 15.3 turnovers per game.
Among the Nation's Elite
Liberty ranks No. 2 nationally in rebound margin (+15.5), No. 14 in free throw percentage (.764) and No. 32 in field goal percentage defense (.357). Individually, Ashley Rininger is tied for No. 11 in the nation with 11 double-doubles and sits No. 13 in field goal percentage (.601).
A Look Back at Liberty's 59-51 Win Over Presbyterian College
• Presbyterian College cut a 16-point second-half deficit to four, but Liberty held on for a 59-51 victory, Saturday evening inside the Vines Center.
• Emily Frazier (4-4) and Katelyn Adams (2-2) combined to make all six of their free throw attempts during the final 1:04 to seal the Lady Flames' fourth straight win overall and fifth consecutive home victory.
• It was the first time that Liberty has scored fewer than 60 points in a win this season.
• For the 14th straight game, the Lady Flames won the rebounding battle (41-32).
• Liberty outscored its 13th consecutive opponent inside the paint, 26-10.
• Liberty committed a season-low 11 turnovers.
• The Lady Flames held PC to 29.6 percent (16-of-54) field goal shooting. No team has shot 50 percent or higher against Liberty this season.
• Ashley Rininger scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for her fourth straight double-double, her 11th this season and the 14th of her career. She scored 12 of her points after halftime.
• Emily Frazier fell just one point shy of her career high with 16 points. The redshirt junior added a team-high five assists and four rebounds.
• For the 14th straight game, Katelyn Adams grabbed at least seven rebounds, finishing with eight boards to go along with her six points.
• Reagan Miller made multiple three-pointers for the fourth game in a row, shooting 2-of-3 from long range as part of an eight-point outing.
• Liberty's five sophomores (Katelyn Adams, Sadalia Ellis, Jaymee Fisher-Davis, Catherine Kearney and Ashley Rininger) are playing an important role for the Lady Flames during the 2013-14 season.
• The sophomores are scoring 57 percent of Liberty's points thus far, averaging 39.6 points per game.
• Ashley Rininger is leading the way, having improved significantly upon her numbers from 2012-13. She is averaging a team-high 16.2 ppg this season, after scoring 6.9 ppg a year ago. Rininger was named Big South Women's Basketball Player of the Week on Dec. 2 and 23.
The Big South's Big 3
The three tallest players on Liberty's roster--redshirt sophomores Catherine Kearney (6-6), Katelyn Adams (6-5) and Ashley Rininger (6-4)--have played a key role in the Lady Flames' 6-1 Big South record.
• The trio is combining for 35.3 ppg, 27.6 rpg and 4.0 bpg in conference play. Rininger is posting 16.7 ppg and 10.4 rpg, Adams is averaging 9.6 ppg and 9.4 rpg and Kearney is going for 9.0 ppg and 7.7 rpg.
• In seven conference games, Rininger has notched five double-doubles, Kearney has three double-doubles and Adams has a pair of double-doubles.