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WBB Game Day Central: Charleston Southern
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Riding a season-best five-game winning streak, Liberty (12-8, 9-2 Big South) will travel to Charleston Southern (10-10, 5-6 Big South) on Monday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Buc Dome as the Lady Flames aim to complete a regular-season sweep of the Buccaneers in the 60th all-time hardwood meeting between Liberty and CSU.
The "Starting Five" - Liberty's Top Storylines
1) Liberty has won five games in a row and is 9-1 in its last 10 games, moving into a tie with UNC Asheville for first place in the Big South standings. Meanwhile, Charleston Southern has recorded back-to-back wins and could even its Big South mark at 6-6 with a victory on Monday.
2) The Lady Flames have recorded 10 consecutive victories over Charleston Southern, by an average of 22.9 ppg. Liberty is 36-1 against the Buccaneers in Carey Green's 17 seasons at the helm.
3) If Liberty is victorious on Monday, it would mark the Lady Flames' 17th consecutive season with 10+ Big South victories.
4) Big South Preseason Player of the Year Ashley Rininger returned to action against High Point on Saturday, posting eight points and six rebounds in her first 14 minutes of playing time since Dec. 17. She singlehandedly outscored CSU, 12-6, during the fourth quarter of Liberty's 51-40 win on Dec. 5 and finished the contest with 18 points and nine boards.
5) Mickayla Sanders is averaging 14.5 ppg in two career visits to the Buc Dome, including a season-high 17 points on Jan. 17, 2015.
Liberty vs. Charleston Southern at a Glance
Series Record: Liberty leads, 53-6.
Current Streak: Liberty has won 10 consecutive meetings.
Series Record at CSU: Liberty leads, 22-4.
Current Streak at CSU: Liberty has won four consecutive meetings.
Last Meeting Overall: Liberty 51, Charleston So. 40 (Dec. 5, 2015 at Liberty)
Last Meeting at CSU: Liberty 86, Charleston So. 51 (Jan. 17, 2015)
CSU's Last Series Victory: Charleston So. 54, Liberty 51 (Feb. 28, 2011 at CSU)
CSU's Last Series Victory at Home: Same
Liberty Head Coach: Carey Green
Overall Record (Seasons): 395-136 (17th Season)
Record at Liberty (Seasons): Same
Record vs. Charleston Southern: 36-1
Charleston Southern Head Coach: Fred Applin
Overall Record (Seasons): 44-97 (Sixth Season)
Record at Charleston Southern (Seasons): 31-77 (Fourth Season)
Record vs. Liberty: 1-8
Notes and Anecdotes
• Liberty owned a slim 35-34 lead heading to the fourth quarter of its Dec. 5 home matchup with Charleston Southern. Ashley Rininger then singlehandedly outscored the Buccaneers, 12-6, during the final quarter, propelling the Lady Flames to a 51-40 victory. Rininger finished with 18 points and nine rebounds, while CSU's Shauntavia Dobson scored a team-high 14 points.
• Coming off of back-to-back wins, Charleston Southern is 10-10 overall and 5-6 in conference play. The Buccaneers have already doubled their overall win total from 2014-15, when they finished 1-19 in the Big South. CSU has posted its most overall and conference victories since 2011-12, when the Buccaneers went 17-15 overall and 9-9 in the Big South, earning a berth to the postseason WBI tournament.
• Senior guard Alyssa Mann is the Big South's second-leading scorer at 15.1 ppg. However, she was limited to five points on 2-of-16 shooting during CSU's Dec. 5 setback at Liberty.
• Liberty's average margin of victory during its current 10-game winning streak over Charleston Southern is 22.9 ppg. That includes an 86-51 win during the Lady Flames' most recent visit to the Buc Dome, Jan. 17, 2015.
• CSU head coach Fred Applin earned a 73-64 victory over Liberty as Hampton's head coach, on Jan. 11, 1996 in Hampton, Va.
Liberty in February
All-Time Record in February: 210-126
Carey Green's Record in February: 111-10
Record This February (Games Remaining): 0-0 (7 games remaining)
Last Five February Records:
2010-11 - 5-1
2011-12 - 7-1
2012-13 - 7-0
2013-14 - 6-2
2014-15 - 8-0
On This Date
Liberty is 9-4 all-time on Feb. 1, including 1-0 against Charleston Southern. Led by Kristal Tharp's 19 points, the Lady Flames notched a 69-50 victory at the Buc Dome on Feb. 1, 2003. Marea Daniels had 26 points and eight steals for CSU.
Five in a Row
The Lady Flames have won five straight games, marking their longest winning streak of the season. The following are a few keys to the streak.
• Led by Katelyn Adams' 10.2 rpg, Liberty has outrebounded all five opponents and owns +14.8 rebound margin during the winning streak.
• The Lady Flames have held opponents to 57.0 ppg on 33.3 percent field goal shooting.
• Catherine Kearney is averaging 15.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 2.0 bpg during the streak, while shooting 66.7 percent from the field and 88.9 percent from the foul line.
Welcome Back, Ashley!
After missing the previous nine games due to a knee injury, Big South Preseason Player of the Year Ashley Rininger made a successful return, Saturday versus High Point.
• Rininger checked in with 6:21 remaining in the first quarter and made her presence known in limited action. She posted eight points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals in 14 minutes.
• Saturday's contest marked just the second time this season (also Seton Hall game on Dec. 12) that Liberty's three leading scorers (Rininger, Mickayla Sanders and Sadalia Ellis) have played an entire game together.
A Look Back at the Lady Flames' 56-43 Victory Over High Point
• After missing the last nine games due to injury, Big South Preseason Player of the Year Ashley Rininger made a successful return to the court for Liberty, Saturday afternoon at the Vines Center.
• She posted eight points and six rebounds off the bench, helping the Lady Flames record their season-best fifth win in a row, 56-43 over High Point.
• The other two-thirds of Liberty's "Big 3" post players also made key contributions for the Lady Flames in a rematch of the 2015 Big South Women's Basketball Championship title game. Katelyn Adams tied her season high of 11 points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds, while Catherine Kearney chipped in eight points, six boards and three of Liberty's seven blocked shots.
• The Panthers shot just 29.8 percent (17-of-57) for the game and posted their second lowest scoring output of the season.
• Rininger made her return to action at 6:21 of the first quarter and sparked an 8-0 run with four points and three rebounds.
• The Lady Flames recorded 12 assists and nine turnovers after halftime following a 3-to-15 assist-to-turnover ratio during the first 20 minutes. Liberty also forced 20 High Point turnovers for the game and converted the miscues into 21 points.
Winning the Battle of the Boards
Liberty has outrebounded 16 of 20 opponents this season, including seven in a row. The Lady Flames have climbed to No. 30 nationally with a +8.1 rebound margin.
#1 Mickayla Sanders
• Averaging 14.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg in two career games at the Buc Dome
• Has hit a three-pointer in eight straight games
#2 Candice Leatherwood
• Made her first career start at point guard versus Charleston Southern (Dec. 5), playing a career-high 34 minutes and tallying seven points and a career-best five rebounds
• Hit five-of-six free throws during the final 2:29 of a Jan. 24 victory at Longwood. Leatherwood has attempted more free throws during the final 5:00 of games than any other Lady Flame this season, going 17-of-26 for 65.4 percent in those end-of-game situations.
• After making one of her first eight three-pointers to start her career, Leatherwood is shooting 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from behind the arc during her last 14 games.
#3 Sadalia Ellis
• Has recorded 12 assists and only three turnovers in the last three games
• Only a 24.3 percent three-point shooter for her career, Ellis has made 40 percent (12-of-30) of her triples during the nine games since Christmas break
• Averaging career-best figures for field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage, free throw percentage, rebounds and points this season
#10 Jaymee Fisher-Davis
• Had made just one of her 17 three-point tries during the previous four games, before going 14-for-32 (43.8 percent) during the last seven outings
• Has made multiple three-pointers in 11 of 20 games this season
• Has hit 34 of her last 36 free throw attempts, boosting her career free throw percentage to 88.4
#21 Mikal Johnson
• Nearing a pair of career milestones, as she is six points shy of 500 and eight three-pointers away from 100
• Scored a season-high 10 points, grabbed a career-high nine rebounds and dished out a team-leading three assists versus Charleston Southern on Dec. 5. She also made all six of her free throw attempts after shooting 3-of-9 from the foul line to start the season.
#23 Brooke Alexander
• Averaging 6.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 2.8 apg since joining the starting lineup, helping Liberty go 5-0 in those games
• Has recorded a 25-to-12 assist-to-turnover ratio over the last eight games
#34 Katelyn Adams
• Needs three blocked shots to pass Jennifer Fairfax for fifth place on Liberty's all-time list
• Adams has tallied six or more rebounds in 16 of 20 games in 2015-16, including seven 10+-rebound efforts. She leads the team in rebounding and ranks third in the Big South.
#44 Catherine Kearney
• Named Big South Player of the Week for the first time in her career on Jan. 25
• Has hit 22 of her last 24 free throw attempts (91.7 percent), including her last six in a row
• During the nine games Ashley Rininger missed due to injury, Kearney averaged 15.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg and 1.6 bpg while shooting 66.7 percent (58-of-87) from the field and 81.8 percent (27-of-33) from the foul line.
#55 Ashley Rininger
• Outscored Charleston Southern, 12-6, during the fourth quarter of the Dec. 5 matchup, contributing to her team-high 18-point output
• Suffered a knee injury at Duke on Dec. 17 which sidelined her for nine games. She returned to action Saturday against High Point, tallying eight points and six rebounds in 14 minutes.
• Needs seven rebounds to pass Elena Kisseleva for fifth place on Liberty's all-time list