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Liberty's Women's Basketball Game Notes
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Tournament at a Glance
Liberty (6-3, 2-0 Big South) will visit Katelyn Adams' home state of Minnesota for its final two games before Christmas, as part of the Subway Classic. The Lady Flames will face host Minnesota (9-1, 0-0 Big Ten) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern before meeting No. 1/1 South Carolina (10-0, 0-0 SEC) Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern. All games will be played inside Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minn.
Liberty will meet Minnesota for the first time in program history and will seek its second win over a Big Ten opponent this season. The Lady Flames defeated Penn State, 80-68, in the opening game of the GSU Thanksgiving Tournament, Nov. 28 in Atlanta.
The Lady Flames will then take on the nation's top-ranked team for the first time since 1998 (Tennessee) when they square off with South Carolina on Sunday. The Gamecocks are 1-0 against Liberty all-time, posting a 69-61 win over the Lady Flames in the opening round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament.
This weekend's games will mark Liberty's first-ever contests in Minnesota. The Land of 10,000 Lakes will become the 24th different state the Lady Flames have traveled to under 16th-year head coach Carey Green.
Liberty vs. Minnesota At a Glance
Series Record: First meeting
Liberty Head Coach: Carey Green
Overall Record (Seasons): 363-124 (16th Season)
Record at Liberty (Seasons): Same
Record vs. Minnesota: 0-0
Minnesota Head Coach: Marlene Stollings
Overall Record (Seasons): 60-43 (Fourth Season)
Record at Minnesota (Seasons): 9-1 (First Season)
Record vs. Liberty: 1-2
Notes and Anecdotes
• Minnesota is off to a 9-1 start but will have to play the rest of the season without 5-9 senior guard Rachel Banham. The Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year was averaging a team-high 18.6 ppg before suffering a torn ACL in the Golden Gophers' most recent game.
• In Banham's absence, the Golden Gophers will rely heavily upon 6-1 senior forward Shae Kelley and 6-5 sophomore center Amanda Zahui B. Kelley is averaging 16.6 ppg and 8.8 rpg during her first season at Minnesota after transferring from Old Dominion. Sweden native Zahui B. averages 14.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg and 3.7 bpg.
• Liberty, which has never faced Minnesota on the hardwood, is 2-3 all-time against Big Ten opponents. Both victories have come against Penn State, including an 80-68 triumph over the Lady Lions on Nov. 28 at the GSU Thanksgiving Tournament in Atlanta, Ga.
• This is only the second time that Liberty is facing multiple Big Ten opponents during the same season. The Lady Flames lost to Ohio State and beat Penn State in 2004-05.
• The Subway Classic contests will mark the Lady Flames' first-ever games in Minnesota. Liberty has now played in 24 different states under head coach Carey Green.
• Minnesota is 4-0 all-time against Big South opponents. Most recently, the Golden Gophers beat Charleston Southern by an 80-51 count in the first round of the 2012 WBI Tournament.
• First-year Minnesota head coach Marlene Stollings is 1-2 coaching against Liberty, including 1-1 at Winthrop (2011-12 season) and 0-1 at VCU (2012-13 season).
• Liberty's Katelyn Adams grew up just 15 miles south of Minneapolis in Burnsville, Minn. and played high school state tournament games at Williams Arena during her time at Minnehaha Academy.
What Can Brown Do For You?
Entering the Penn State game on Nov. 28, sophomore Simone Brown owned a career scoring average of 5.4 ppg and a career high of 10 points. Brown then erupted for 23 points during the win over the Nittany Lions.
• That began a streak of five straight double-figure scoring outputs for the Sunshine State native. Brown is averaging a team-high 16.6 ppg over the last five games, helping Liberty go 4-1. She is shooting 62.8 percent from the floor, 55.6 percent from three-point range and a perfect 19-of-19 from the free throw line during that time.
• Brown leads the Big South in free throw percentage (.893) and three-point field goal percentage (.538).
Keeping Up with Karly
Karly Buer has made an immediate impact for the Lady Flames during her first season with the team after transferring from Missouri State.
• Buer, Liberty's leading scorer at 13.6 ppg, became the first Lady Flame to open her Liberty career with eight straight double-digit scoring outputs since Megan Frazee in 2005-06.
• Buer has also shown a knack for scoring in crunch time, putting Liberty ahead for good during wins over Saint Joseph's, Georgia State and Radford.
Feasting at the Foul Line
Liberty is shooting 81 percent at the free throw line during the last five games and now leads the Big South at 76.3 percent on the season.
• Liberty's season record for free throw percentage is 72.8 percent, set in 2007-08.
• Individually, Simone Brown paces the conference at 89.3 percent and has hit 19 foul shots in a row, nearing the program record of 22. Karly Buer, who recently fashioned her own streak of 14 consecutive made free throws, sits No. 2 in the Big South at 86.5 percent.
• Liberty shot 9-of-10 from the free throw line during the final 2:03 of a Dec. 13 win over Gardner-Webb and is shooting 76.4 percent during the last 5:00 of games this season. Simone Brown is 10-of-10 in the last five minutes on the year.
The Subway Classic is part of a four-game road swing for the Lady Flames. Liberty is in the middle of a stretch which includes only one home tilt (Dec. 13 vs. Gardner-Webb) during a nine-game span. The Lady Flames have played well on the road so far this season, going 3-2 away from the Vines Center.
From One Set of Tests to Another
Final exams at Liberty just ended on Dec. 11, and now the Lady Flames are facing arguably their most challenging on-court tests of the 2014-15 season. Within five days, the Lady Flames are taking on opponents from the ACC (NC State on Dec. 17), Big Ten (Minnesota on Dec. 20) and SEC (No. 1/1 South Carolina on Dec. 21), all away from home.
A Look Back at Liberty's 67-64 Loss at NC State
• Carlee Schuhmacher fashioned a three-point play with 5.1 seconds remaining in Wednesday afternoon's contest at Reynolds Coliseum, breaking a tie and giving NC State a 67-64 victory over Liberty.
• Mickayla Sanders, making her season debut for the Lady Flames, scored Liberty's final five points. Those included a game-tying three-pointer with 28.9 seconds left.
• Liberty dropped to 6-3 after seeing its season-best four-game winning streak snapped. NC State improved to 8-3 overall and 22-0 all-time against Big South opponents, including 2-0 versus Liberty.
• The Lady Flames shot a season-best 47.2 percent (25-of-53) from the field, bolstered by a 61.5 percent (16-of-26) clip after halftime.
• Liberty hit 80 percent (8-of-10) from the foul line, but got to the charity stripe 16 fewer times than the Wolfpack, who shot 69.2 percent (18-of-26).
• After being outrebounded by a total of 17 boards in its previous two games, Liberty grabbed 37 caroms to NC State's 25.
• Sadalia Ellis set season highs for both points (16) and assists (8), scoring 12 of her points during the second half.
• Simone Brown scored in double digits for the fifth consecutive game, finishing with 16 points and tying her season high with seven boards.
• Sanders finished with nine points and four rebounds in her 2014-15 debut.
• Making her first start since March 10, 2013, Jasmine Gardner led all players with a season-best 10 rebounds.
This weekend's games at the Subway Classic will be the Lady Flames' final non-conference matchups of the regular season. Liberty will then close out its regular-season schedule with 18 consecutive Big South Conference games, beginning Dec. 30 at UNC Asheville.
• The Lady Flames are off to a strong start in conference play at 2-0.
• Liberty will be aiming for its 15th Big South regular-season title in the last 18 seasons.
Lady Flames' Big 3
Liberty's roster features a trio of redshirt juniors standing 6-4 or taller, including 6-6 Catherine Kearney, 6-5 Katelyn Adams and 6-4 Ashley Rininger. The Lady Flames are one of 11 NCAA Division I women's basketball programs featuring three players who stand 6-4 or taller, including the only such squad in the Big South.
The other 10 teams with at least three 6-4 players include Dayton, Duke, Florida A&M, Monmouth, Penn State, South Carolina, Syracuse, Texas, UCLA and Wisconsin.