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WBB Game Day Central: No. 1 seed UNC Asheville

March 13, 2016
|  Asheville, N.C.
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Catherine Kearney averaged 16.5 ppg during two regular-season meetings with Asheville and is averaging a double-double (13.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg) during the 2016 Big South Women's Basketball Championship.

Game Day Central Page

Liberty's Tournament Notes

Liberty's Supplemental Game Notes

Game Time:
2 p.m.

Official Tipoff:
2:02 p.m.

TV Coverage:
ESPN3
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Evan Lepler
Color Commentator: Kelley Deyo

Radio Coverage:
Liberty Flames Sports Network – Radio
WQLU 90.9 FM The Light
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Jamie Hall
 

Game No. 32 – Big South Women's Basketball Championship Final
No. 2 seed Liberty (20-11) at No. 1 seed UNC Asheville (25-6)
March 13, 2016 – 2 p.m. – Kimmel Arena (Asheville, N.C.)

Series History
Series Record:
Liberty leads, 52-9.
Current Streak: Asheville won the most recent meeting.
Series Record at Asheville: Liberty leads, 20-7.
Current Streak at Asheville: Asheville won the most recent meeting.
Series Record in Big South Championship: Liberty leads, 7-0.
Last Meeting Overall: Asheville 56, Liberty 51 (Feb. 13, 2016 at Asheville)
Last Meeting in Big South Championship: Liberty 59, Asheville 51 (March 5, 2015)

Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach: Carey Green
Overall Record (Seasons): 403-139 (17th Season)
Record at Liberty (Seasons): Same
Record vs. UNC Asheville: 37-3

UNC Asheville Head Coach: Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick
Overall Record (Seasons): 47-76 (Fourth Season)
Record at UNC Asheville (Seasons): Same
Record vs. Liberty: 2-7

Series Notes and Anecdotes
• Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is 37-3 all-time against Asheville. However, his Lady Flames have lost two of their last three meetings with the Bulldogs at Kimmel Arena, including an 83-80 overtime decision on Jan. 18, 2014 and a 56-51 setback exactly one month ago (Feb. 13).

• Liberty is 20-7 all-time in road games against Asheville, including a 3-2 mark inside Kimmel Arena.

• Liberty is 7-0 all-time versus Asheville in the Big South Championship, including 2-0 in the title game. Both previous Liberty-Asheville finals took place at the Vines Center.

• The Lady Flames defeated Asheville, 65-53, in the 1998 championship game, improving to a perfect 28-0 on the season.

• Liberty recorded the largest margin of victory ever in a Big South Championship title game in 2005, posting an 88-41 triumph over Asheville. That Lady Flames squad went on to reach the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament.

• Liberty and Asheville are two of four teams to win Big South Championship titles since 1997. The Lady Flames have captured 16 championships during that span, while the Bulldogs (2007), Gardner-Webb (2011) and Winthrop (2014) have won one apiece.

• Liberty and Asheville are squaring off in the Big South Championship for the second straight year, after meeting in the 2015 quarterfinals in Conway, S.C. The Bulldogs led by 11 points in the first half before Liberty rallied for a 59-51 triumph. The Lady Flames were paced by Ashley Rininger (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Emily Frazier (11 points, 6 assists). Shonese Jones (22 points) and KJ Weaver (10 points, 13 rebounds) starred for Asheville.

• Asheville leads the Big South in scoring at 69.6 ppg, while Liberty ranks fourth in defense, allowing 58.6 ppg. The Bulldogs averaged just 54.5 ppg versus the Lady Flames in the regular season, and Liberty has held 21 straight opponents below the 70-point mark.

• Liberty will be facing Lindsay Puckett's team in the championship game for the second straight year. She started for High Point a year ago and is now in her first year as Asheville's director of basketball operations.

• Both teams are guaranteed postseason berths at this point. The winner of Sunday's game will advance to the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship, while the loser will play in the Postseason WNIT. Liberty has made 16 NCAA appearances and one Postseason WNIT appearance (2011).

2015-16 Matchup #1
Jan. 4, 2016 – Liberty 71, Asheville 53 – Vines Center (Lynchburg, Va.)

• Liberty handed Asheville its first Big South loss of the season, racing out to a 32-14 halftime lead and never looking back.

Catherine Kearney shot 11-of-12 from the field on her way to a career high-tying 22 points and nine rebounds for the Lady Flames.

• Liberty was efficient at the offensive end, shooting a season-high 58.1 percent (25-of-43) from the field and a season-best 54.5 percent (6-of-11) from three-point range.

• Conversely, Asheville shot just 28.6 percent (20-of-70) from the floor, including a 1-of-13 performance by Tianna Knuckles.

• Chatori Major scored a team-high 16 points for the Bulldogs.

2015-16 Matchup #2
Feb. 13, 2016 – Asheville 56, Liberty 51 – Kimmel Arena (Asheville, N.C.)

• In a battle between Big South co-leaders, Asheville led 49-35 with 8:15 remaining in the fourth quarter.

• Liberty then fashioned a 13-0 run, pulling within 49-48 with 2:15 to play. But the Lady Flames could not get over the hump.

• Catherine Kearney (11 points, 9 rebounds) and Katelyn Adams (11 points, 8 rebounds) led Liberty's attack, but the Lady Flames shot just 35.6 percent (21-of-59) from the floor and 11.1 percent (2-of-18) from three-point range.

• Sonora Dengokl (10 points) was one of seven Bulldogs who scored between six and 10 points.

Big South Championship Notes
• Liberty has reached the Big South Championship title game for the second year in a row and the 18th time in 20 seasons.

• The Lady Flames are 16-1 all-time in the championship game, with the lone setback coming to Gardner-Webb in 2011.

• Liberty is seeking its second Big South Championship crown in a row and its 17th title in 20 seasons.

• The Lady Flames have now reached the Big South Championship title game in 15 of Carey Green's 17 seasons as head coach, winning 13 titles. Green is 44-3 all-time coaching in the Big South Championship.

• This is the 29th time in 30 Big South Championship title games that either Liberty or Radford is appearing. The lone exception came in 2014 (Winthrop vs. High Point).

• Liberty's last eight championship game appearances have been decided by a total of 35 points. However, the Lady Flames have never played an overtime game in any round of the Big South Championship.

• Sunday's game will mark the first time Liberty has worn its road uniforms as the lower-seeded team in a Big South Championship contest since the 2010 final against Gardner-Webb. That year, No. 2 seed Liberty defeated No. 1 seed Gardner-Webb, 68-66, in High Point, N.C.

• Liberty is in the championship game for the third time in four all-time tournament appearances as the No. 2 seed. The Lady Flames were victorious over the No. 1 seed on both previous occasions, defeating UNCG, 89-82, in 1997 and taking down Gardner-Webb, 68-66, in 2010.

• Liberty is 3-6 all-time in the Big South Championship when it is the underdog according to seed, but 2-0 in the title game.

• This is the 14th time in the tournament's 30-year history that the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds are squaring off in the title game but the first since 2012 (No. 1 seed Liberty defeated No. 2 seed High Point). The No. 1 seed is 9-4 when facing the No. 2 seed.

• Liberty is 7-0 all-time in Big South Championship battles between the top two seeds.

• The Lady Flames will play just their fifth true road game in tournament history on Sunday. Liberty is 3-1 all-time in true road games in the Big South Championship, including 1-0 in the title game.

• No. 1 seed Liberty defeated tournament host and No. 2 seed High Point, 81-73, in the 2012 title game at the Millis Center.

• Liberty will seek its fourth Big South Championship title victory in Asheville in its third different venue. The Lady Flames previously won back-to-back crowns at the Asheville Civic Center in 1999 and 2000, as well as a title at the Justice Center in 2008.

• Asheville is the most recent team to celebrate a Big South Championship title on its home floor, winning the 2007 championship at the Justice Center.

Trends and Streaks
• Liberty is 5-2 all-time at Kimmel Arena, including 2-1 this season.

• The Lady Flames are 3-3 all-time on March 13, including 1-1 in the Big South Championship title game. Liberty defeated Birmingham-Southern 54-41 in the 2004 title tilt, while falling to Gardner-Webb, 67-66, in the 2011 final.

• Liberty is 2-0 on Sunday this season, including a 72-67 win at Longwood on Jan. 24 and a 67-53 home victory over Radford on Feb. 7.

• Liberty's victory over Radford secured its ninth consecutive 20-win season and its 18th 20-win campaign in the last 20 years.

• Liberty has held 22 straight opponents below 50 percent shooting from the field and limited Asheville to 32.8 percent shooting in their two head-to-head matchups.

• The Lady Flames have outrebounded 18 consecutive opponents, but only totaled nine more rebounds than Asheville in the teams' two regular-season meetings.

• The Lady Flames are 16-0 when tied or leading at halftime this season.

• Liberty is 5-0 when starting the lineup it has used on Friday and Saturday (Candice Leatherwood, Sadalia Ellis, Brooke Alexander, Catherine Kearney and Katelyn Adams). It is the most successful of the Lady Flames' 10 different starting lineups this season, by winning percentage.

A Look Back at Liberty's 51-41 Semifinal Victory Over Radford
• Liberty held Radford to 29.6 percent (16-of-54) shooting from the field, and the Highlanders' 41 points equaled the fewest ever scored in a Big South Championship semifinal game.

• Liberty opened up a 28-11 halftime lead, as the Highlanders tied the tournament record for fewest points in a half.

• For the second straight game, the Lady Flames held their opponent to one made field goal in the first quarter.

• Liberty shot just 27.3 percent (15-of-55) from the field, 18.8 percent (3-of-16) from three-point range and 64.3 percent (18-of-28) from the foul line.

• Liberty outrebounded Radford, 44-39, including 23 offensive boards.

Jaymee Fisher-Davis paced all scorers with 11 points, making the only three triples in the game.

• Fellow seniors Catherine Kearney (10 points, nine rebounds), Sadalia Ellis (10 points, four steals) and Katelyn Adams (11 rebounds) all made significant contributions as well for the Lady Flames.

Updated Player Notes
#1 Mickayla Sanders
• Scored three points in five minutes of the 2015 championship game

• Averaged 11.5 ppg against Asheville this season.

• Sanders hit her 102nd career three-pointer on Friday. She needs two more to pass Elena Kisseleva for 10th place in program history, three to pass Sarah Wilkerson for ninth place and five to pass Daina Staugaitiene for eighth place.

#2 Candice Leatherwood
• Only appeared in the final minute of the 2015 championship game

• Leatherwood has averaged a team-high 28.0 minutes/game during this year's tournament.

• Helped seal Saturday's win over Radford by going 5-of-6 from the foul line during the fourth quarter

• Liberty is 5-1 since Leatherwood took over as starting point guard at High Point on Feb. 23.

#3 Sadalia Ellis
• Averaging 7.0 ppg and 5.0 apg in two career championship games (2013 and 2015)

• She has scored in double figures in three straight games, giving her a team-high 16 double-digit efforts this season.

• Ellis ranks 18th in program history with 850 career points.

#4 Tatyana Crowder
• Will be making her championship game debut on Sunday

#5 Stephanie Patton
• Will be making her championship game debut on Sunday

#10 Jaymee Fisher-Davis
• Has scored four total points in two championship game appearances (2013 and 2015)

• Fisher-Davis hit the only three triples of the game, Saturday against Radford, finishing with a game-high 11 points.

• She has attempted 161 triples this season, the most by a Lady Flame since Cynthia Thomson tried 167 in 1991-92.

• She sits two points shy of 500 for her career.

#20 Sheana Vega
• Only appeared in the final minute of the 2015 championship game

#21 Mikal Johnson
• Will be making her championship game debut on Sunday

#23 Brooke Alexander
• Will be making her championship game debut on Sunday

• Alexander returned to the starting lineup on Friday after sitting out the regular-season finale against Presbyterian due to illness.

• Liberty is 13-2 with Alexander in the starting five this season.

• Dished out six assists against Asheville on Jan. 4.

#30 KK Barbour
• Will be making her championship game debut on Sunday

• Barbour tied her career high of seven points and pulled down six rebounds in just 12 minutes on Friday against CSU.

#32 Jordan Woods
• Will be making her championship game debut on Sunday

• Woods hit two free throws during Friday's game for her first points since Jan. 24 against Longwood.

#34 Katelyn Adams
• Has totaled five points and five rebounds in two championship game appearances (2013 and 2015)

• Adams pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds against Radford on Saturday, marking her team-high 13th double-digit rebounding effort of the season. She totaled 13 games of 10+ rebounds during her first three seasons as a Lady Flame.

• Saturday's game marked Adams' 129th consecutive appearance to start her collegiate career. She is in sole possession of second place on Liberty's career games played list. The program record of 132 career games played is held by Avery Warley (2008-12).

• Adams ranks 8th in program history with 849 career rebounds and needs 11 to pass Carla Weaver for 7th place.

#40 Molly Reagan
• Will be making her championship game debut on Sunday

#44 Catherine Kearney
• Has totaled eight points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots in two previous championship game appearances (2012 and 2015)

• Averaging 16.5 ppg and 9.0 rpg in two meetings with Asheville this season, including a career high-equaling 22 points on 11-of-12 from the field during Liberty's Jan. 4 victory at the Vines Center

• Kearney leads Liberty in scoring (13.5 ppg), rebounding (11.5 rpg) and blocked shots (1.5 bpg) during the Lady Flames' first two tournament games this weekend.

• Kearney has gotten to the foul line often this weekend, shooting 13-of-19 for 68.4 percent during the two games.

•  Kearney led the Lady Flames in both points (17) and rebounds (career-high 14) during Friday's victory over Charleston Southern.

•  Kearney has now recorded five double-doubles this season and eight for her career.

• Kearney ranks 13th on Liberty's all-time rebounding list with 603 boards. She needs two caroms to overtake former teammate Jasmine Gardner for 12th place.

#55 Ashley Rininger
• Averaging 13.0 ppg and 8.5 rpg in two previous championship game appearances (2013 and 2015), including a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) against High Point last season

• MVP of the 2015 Big South Championship

• Scored her 100th career point in the Big South Championship on Saturday and has totaled 101 points in 10 career tournament games

• Ranks 5th on Liberty's all-time rebounding list with 936 boards and needs 16 to pass Megan Frazee for 4th.