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WBB Game Day Central: Winthrop
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Tuesday's contest at the Winthrop Coliseum will match up the current Big South leader (Liberty - 12-5, 8-0 Big South) and the reigning Big South tournament champion (Winthrop - 8-9, 4-4 Big South). Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum.
The "Starting Five" - Liberty's Top Storylines
1) Liberty will attempt to extend a pair of winning streaks on Tuesday. The Lady Flames have won a season-best six straight games overall and 13 consecutive Big South regular-season games, dating back to last season.
2) A stifling defense has played a key role in Liberty's 8-0 start in Big South play. Conference opponents are averaging only 50.0 ppg and shooting just 29.1 percent from the field against the Lady Flames.
3) Karly Buer is averaging 20.0 ppg and shooting 85 percent (17-of-20) from the field in her two games in South Carolina this season. She needs six points to reach 1,000 for her collegiate career, including her time at Missouri State and Liberty.
4) Ashley Rininger notched double-doubles in all three meetings with Winthrop a year ago and is averaging a double-double (13.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg) versus the Eagles for her career. She will go head to head against Winthrop's Schaquilla Nunn, the lone Big South player averaging a double-double (13.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg) in 2014-15.
5) Coming off of a season-high 17-point effort against Charleston Southern, Mickayla Sanders headlines Liberty's talented group of reserves. The Lady Flames have outscored their opponents in bench points in five straight games, averaging 35 bench points per contest over that span. Sanders averages 15.3 ppg against Winthrop during her career.
Liberty vs. Winthrop At a Glance
Series Record: Liberty leads, 46-9.
Current Streak: Winthrop won the most recent meeting.
Series Record at Winthrop: Liberty leads, 18-7.
Current Streak at Winthrop: Liberty has won two consecutive meetings.
Last Meeting Overall: Winthrop 65, Liberty 59 (March 8, 2014 at Conway, S.C.)
Last Meeting at Winthrop: Liberty 77, Winthrop 70 (OT) (Jan. 16, 2014)
Liberty's Last Series Victory: Liberty 80, Winthrop 69 (Feb. 22, 2014 at Liberty)
Winthrop's Last Series Victory at Home: Winthrop 71, Liberty 69 (Feb. 18, 2012)
Liberty Head Coach: Carey Green
Overall Record (Seasons): 369-126 (16th Season)
Record at Liberty (Seasons): Same
Record vs. Winthrop: 32-3
Winthrop Head Coach: Kevin Cook
Overall Record (Seasons): 100-86 (Seventh Season)
Record at Winthrop (Seasons): 53-30 (Third Season)
Record vs. Liberty: 1-4
Notes and Anecdotes
• Liberty won two of its three matchups with Winthrop in 2013-14. However, the Eagles earned the most important victory, posting a 65-59 triumph over the Lady Flames in the semifinals of the Big South Women's Basketball Championship. That propelled Winthrop to its first-ever Big South tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance.
• Last season's Liberty-Winthrop contest in Rock Hill was a classic. The Lady Flames came back from an early 15-point deficit and were on the verge of winning in regulation before Schaquilla Nunn's buzzer-beater forced overtime. Liberty then prevailed in the extra session, 77-70. Ashley Rininger (20 points, 14 rebounds), Reagan Miller (17 points) and Mickayla Sanders (17 points) led the way for the Lady Flames.
• Liberty is 53-6 all-time in games played in South Carolina under Carey Green.
• Winthrop's starting point guard, Aliyah Kilpatrick, was a teammate of Liberty's Jaymee Fisher-Davis at Butler High School.
• Despite the graduation of three-time Big South Player of the Year Dequesha McClanahan, Winthrop got off to a strong start this season, highlighted by a 56-54 win over Auburn on Nov. 29. However, the Eagles are currently on a three-game losing streak.
• The Eagles are paced by the post duo of Erica Williams (15.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg) and Schaquilla Nunn (13.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.6 bpg).
Unbeaten in the Big South
The Lady Flames are off to their first 8-0 conference start since 2008-09, when they started 15-0. Here are a couple keys to Liberty's strong start in Big South play.
• Liberty has played strong defense in its first eight Big South games. The Lady Flames rank first in the Big South in both scoring defense (50.0 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (29.1 percent) in conference contests this season.
• Karly Buer is averaging a team-high 14.6 ppg while shooting 60 percent (42-of-70) from the field, 57.9 percent (11-of-19) from three-point range and 91.7 percent (22-of-24) from the foul line.
Karly Buer is just six points away from 1,000 for her collegiate career entering Tuesday's game. She scored 773 points at Missouri State and has totaled 221 points at Liberty.
The Lady Flames' depth has played an important role in the team's recent success. Liberty has totaled more bench points than its opponent in five consecutive games, averaging 35.0 bench points per contest over that span.
• Mickayla Sanders and Jaymee Fisher-Davis have headlined Liberty's reserves, combining for 18.8 ppg and hitting 16 total three-pointers during the last five games.
Liberty tied a program record by holding four consecutive opponents below the 50-point mark between Jan. 3-13. Charleston Southern snapped the streak by scoring its 50th and 51st points with 28 seconds remaining in Saturday's game at the Buc Dome.
A Look Back at Liberty's 86-51 Win at Charleston Southern
• Liberty shot a season-high 58.6 percent from the field, including 74.1 percent after halftime, enabling the Lady Flames to post an 86-51 victory at Charleston Southern, Saturday afternoon at the Buc Dome.
• Four Lady Flames scored in double figures as Liberty tallied a season-best 86 points, including Mickayla Sanders (season-high 17), Karly Buer (16), Ashley Rininger (12) and Jaymee Fisher-Davis (10).
• The Lady Flames have now won six straight games overall, eight consecutive matchups with Charleston Southern and 13 straight Big South regular-season contests.
• Liberty, which tallied a season-high 44 points in the paint, is now 97-1 under head coach Carey Green when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
• Defense and rebounding continue to be staples of Liberty's success, as the Lady Flames held CSU to 24.2 percent (15-of-62) from the field and won the rebounding battle, 45-38.
• Sanders scored 13 of her 17 points after halftime, helping Liberty rack up 36 bench points during the final 20 minutes.
• Buer's 16 points, which came on 8-of-9 shooting from the floor in only 17 minutes of playing time, put her six points shy of 1,000 for her collegiate career.
• Fisher-Davis, who has now scored in double digits in back-to-back games for the first time in her collegiate career, sank all four of her free throw attempts. The junior has now hit 18 consecutive foul shots, dating back to her freshman campaign.
• Audrey Rettstatt scored her first eight points of the season while setting career highs for rebounds (game-high nine) and assists (three).
Feasting at the Foul Line
The Lady Flames lead the Big South and rank No. 13 nationally in free throw percentage at 75.1 percent.
• Liberty's season record for free throw percentage is 72.8 percent, set in 2007-08.
• Liberty shot a season-best 91.7 percent (22-of-24) at Coastal Carolina on Jan. 8.
• Karly Buer leads the conference at 86.8 percent (46-of-53) this season.
Liberty ranks third in the Big South and No. 28 nationally with 5.1 blocked shots per game. The Lady Flames have not topped the conference in blocks since 2004-05.
• Ashley Rininger is leading the way, as she is tied for third in the Big South with 1.8 bpg. She ranks fifth in program history with 114 career blocks.
• During the Jan. 13 win over Longwood, Katelyn Adams became the sixth Lady Flame ever to reject 100 career shots.
Winning the Battle of the Boards
Liberty has outrebounded six consecutive opponents, moving up to No. 31 nationally in rebound margin at +7.8.
The Container is Half Full
The Lady Flames are 97-1 under head coach Carey Green when making at least 50 percent of their field goals, including 1-0 in 2014-15. Liberty has won the last 24 times it has shot 50 percent or better, since an 83-77 loss to Kentucky in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship (March 20, 2010).
The Container is Half Empty
Liberty has held 48 straight opponents below 50 percent shooting from the field. Purdue was the Lady Flames' most recent foe to make at least half of its field goal attempts, connecting at a 50.0 percent (26-of-52) clip during the first round of the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship (March 24, 2013).