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Lady Flames Tabbed Big South Preseason Favorite
Listen to an interview with Preseason Player of the Year Devon Brown
Expectations are lofty for the 2010-11 Liberty women's basketball team, as evidenced by the votes of the Big South Conference's head coaches and media members. The Lady Flames were tabbed the preseason favorite to win their fourth straight Big South title and redshirt sophomore guard/forward Devon Brown was named Big South Preseason Player of the Year at Tuesday's 2010-11 Basketball Tip-Off Media Luncheon, held at the Renaissance Suites Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.
The Lady Flames, who also placed redshirt junior forward Avery Warley on the five-member preseason all-conference team, garnered 13 of 20 possible first-place votes and tallied 172 total points. Finishing a close second was 2010 Big South Championship runner-up Gardner-Webb, which claimed the seven remaining first-place votes and 163 points.
Brown made an immediate impact during her first season with the Lady Flames, leading the conference with 17.2 ppg and pulling down 8.2 rpg. She was voted Big South Championship MVP, after making the game-winning shot with 4.2 seconds remaining in the title contest against Gardner-Webb. Brown was also the VaSID State Rookie of the Year and earned a spot on the first-team All-Big South roster.
Warley joined Brown as a first-team All-Big South pick last season, after pacing the conference in field goal percentage (.603) and ranking second with 8.5 rpg. Her work on the boards helped Liberty lead the nation in rebound margin, at +13.9.
Brown and Warley are the top two returnees from last year's Liberty squad, which finished 27-6 and made its 13th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 14 seasons. Head coach Carey Green's team also brings back starters Kylee Beecher and Rachel McLeod, as well as 2010 Big South All-Freshman team member Jelena Antic.
High Point finished third in the preseason poll with 128 points, while Charleston Southern followed closely in fourth with 121 points. Coastal Carolina (fifth, 98 points), Radford (sixth, 75 points) and Winthrop (seventh, 69 points) nailed down the next three spots. UNC Asheville was picked to finish eighth with 43 points, while Presbyterian College rounded out the listing in ninth place, with 33 points.
Meanwhile, the remainder of the preseason all-conference squad consists of Gardner-Webb's Dominique Hudson, Coastal Carolina's Sydnei Moss and Charleston Southern's Katie Tull.
Liberty held its first official team practice for the 2010-11 season Oct. 3 at the Schilling Center, and the Lady Flames are exactly one month away from tipping off the campaign. Liberty will face Creighton in its lid-lifter, Nov. 12 at the Sheraton Raleigh Wolfpack Invitational in Raleigh, N.C.
The 2011 Big South Women's Basketball Championship will be hosted by High Point for the third consecutive season. The tournament will be played at the Millis Center, March 11-13.
2010-11 Big South Women's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
Devon Brown, Liberty (Preseason Player of the Year)
Dominique Hudson, Gardner-Webb
Sydnei Moss, Coastal Carolina
Katie Tull, Charleston Southern
Avery Warley, Liberty
2010-11 Big South Women's Basketball Preseason Poll
Team (First-place votes) – Points
1) Liberty (13) – 172
2) Gardner-Webb (7) – 163
3) High Point – 128
4) Charleston Southern – 121
5) Coastal Carolina – 98
6) Radford – 75
7) Winthrop – 69
8) UNC Asheville – 43
9) Presbyterian College – 33