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WBB Game Day Central: No. 9 seed Gardner-Webb
Provided by the Flames Sports Network
Broadcast - Tip-Off:
8 p.m. vs. Gardner-Webb
The Light (90.9 FM WWMC)
Big South Network
No. 1 seed Liberty (24-6) will open defense of its Big South Championship title Friday at 8 p.m. inside The HTC Center, facing No. 9 seed Gardner-Webb (13-17). If victorious, the Lady Flames would meet either No. 4 seed High Point or No. 5 seed Campbell in the semifinals, Saturday at 8 p.m. The championship game is set for Sunday at 5 p.m.
The "Starting Five" - Liberty's Top Tournament Storylines
1) Liberty is the defending champion at the Big South Women's Basketball Championship and will be aiming to win its 15th tournament title in the last 17 seasons.
2) The Lady Flames enter as the No. 1 seed for the third straight year and the 14th time in the last 16 seasons. Liberty has won the Big South title 12 of the previous 13 times it has been seeded first, including last season. Liberty earned the top seed by going 16-2 in conference play and tying the Big South record for conference wins in a season.
3) Liberty enters the tournament as the hottest team in the Big South Conference. The Lady Flames have won a season-best 11 straight games since a loss to High Point on Jan. 17. Liberty has also won 11 consecutive road games. The Lady Flames have not lost away from the Vines Center since Nov. 23 at Baylor.
4) Liberty is 1-0 at The HTC Center, posting a 76-48 victory over Coastal Carolina on Jan. 12. The Lady Flames have won 17 straight games in Conway overall since a loss to the Chanticleers on Feb. 19, 1996.
5) Liberty redshirt seniors Devon Brown and Tolu Omotola are both nearing milestones. Brown is 73 points away from 2,000 for her career, while Omotola needs 56 points to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
• Liberty and Gardner-Webb only met once during the 2012-13 regular season, as the Runnin' Bulldogs and Presbyterian College were the two Big South teams that the Lady Flames faced a single time this year.
• Liberty posted a 55-40 victory at Gardner-Webb on Feb. 23 for its 11th straight road triumph.
• Both teams recorded season-low field goal percentages, as Liberty shot 27.7 percent (13-of-47) while Gardner-Webb finished at 21.7 percent (13-of-60).
• Liberty opened the game on a 25-5 run and the Runnin' Bulldogs could not recover.
• The Lady Flames' Reagan Miller led all scorers with a season-high 13 points.
• Teammate Devon Brown added nine points and nine rebounds, passing Megan Frazee for second place on Liberty's all-time scoring list.
• Jessica Heilig scored all 11 of her points after halftime to top Gardner-Webb's scoring chart.
• Liberty is now 9-3 all-time against Gardner-Webb and has won three consecutive meetings.
• Six of the 12 all-time matchups between the Lady Flames and Runnin' Bulldogs have been decided by single digits.
• Liberty is 2-1 versus Gardner-Webb in the Big South Championship, and all three matchups have come in the title game.
• The Lady Flames defeated Gardner-Webb in the 2009 (51-50) and 2010 (68-66) championship games before the Runnin' Bulldogs returned the favor in 2011 (67-66).
• Then a redshirt freshman, Devon Brown made the game-winning shot in the 2010 championship game with 4.2 seconds remaining.
• Gardner-Webb is 8-2 all-time in the Big South Championship, with both losses coming to Liberty.
• Liberty is 13-1 in the Big South Championship during the last five years (2008-12), with the loss coming to Gardner-Webb.
• Liberty is 41-1 all-time in the Big South Championship when favored according to seed. The lone setback came in the 2011 championship game, when the Lady Flames were seeded No. 1 and the Runnin' Bulldogs were No. 3.
• Liberty will be trying to advance to the Big South Championship semifinal round for the 17th straight season, while Gardner-Webb will be aiming to get there for the fourth straight tournament appearance.
• Liberty has won its opening game of the Big South Championship 16 consecutive seasons, since dropping its 1996 opener to UNCG, 84-40.
• Gardner-Webb head coach Rick Reeves was Liberty's head coach for nine seasons (1990-91 through 1998-99), tallying 136 wins and the Lady Flames' first three Big South titles (1997, 1998 and 1999).
• Liberty and Gardner-Webb rank first and second, respectively, in the Big South in both field goal percentage defense and rebound margin.
• Liberty is 1-2 on Friday this season while Gardner-Webb is 2-0. The Lady Flames have not played on Friday since losing at No. 3/3 Baylor, 92-60, on Nov. 23.
The #1 to Beat
The Lady Flames enter the Big South Championship as the No. 1 seed for the 14th time in the last 16 seasons. Twelve of the previous 13 times Liberty has been the top seed, the Lady Flames have gone on to win the tournament championship.
How's This For Openers?
Liberty is 18-3 all-time in its opening game of the Big South Championship. The Lady Flames have won 16 straight openers, since losing to UNC Greensboro, 84-40, in the first round of the 1996 tournament.
This Seems Familiar
Liberty enters the Big South Championship as the No. 1 seed for the 14th time in 22 all-time tournament appearances. All-time, Liberty has been seeded No. 1 14 times, No. 2 twice, No. 3 twice, No. 6 twice, No. 7 once and No. 8 once.
Success Versus Current Big South Teams
Liberty is 38-5 in Big South Championship games against the 10 other teams playing in this year's tournament. Campbell, Gardner-Webb and Radford (three times) are the only three squads in the 2013 tournament who have ever defeated the Lady Flames in the Big South Championship.
Avoiding the Upset
The Lady Flames own a 41-1 record all-time in the Big South Championship, when the Lady Flames are seeded higher than their opponents.
Commonwealth Teams in the Championship Game
Either Liberty or Radford has appeared in all 26 Big South Championship title games in conference history. However, 2008 is the only time the Lady Flames and Highlanders have ever faced each other in the championship game.
Lack of Overtime
None of Liberty's 51 Big South Championship contests have gone to overtime. Most of the time, the games have been decided by a wide margin, as 35 of the Lady Flames' tournament tilts have featured a double-digit spread between the two teams.
No More Nail-biters!
The Lady Flames' final contest at the Big South Championship has been a close game each of the past seven years. Their championship game matchups in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and their semifinal loss to Radford in 2007 have been decided by a total of 18 points.
Comfortable in Conway
Liberty has been victorious in each of the last 17 games it has played in Conway, S.C., including 16 victories at Kimbel Arena and a 76-48 triumph over Coastal Carolina in its first visit to The HTC Center, on Jan. 12. The Lady Flames have not lost in Conway since a 70-55 setback to the Chanticleers on Feb. 19, 1996.
Five Liberty freshmen (Katelyn Adams, Sadalia Ellis, Jaymee Fisher-Davis, Ashley Rininger and Julia Winn) are all set to make their Big South Women's Basketball Championship debuts this weekend. Adams (Minnesota) and Winn (New Hampshire) both experienced considerable tournament success in high school, leading their respective teams to state titles.
There's Something About Saturday!
If Liberty advances to the semifinal round, it will have a chance to extend an impressive run of success in Saturday games. The Lady Flames have won 10 straight Saturday contests and are 13-1 on Saturday this season. Meanwhile, Liberty is 1-2 on Friday and has not yet played a Sunday contest in 2012-13.
Liberty has played very well away from the Vines Center this season, winning 11 straight road games since its loss at Baylor on Nov. 23.
• With one more road victory, the Lady Flames would tie the program record for most consecutive road wins. The 1997-98 Liberty squad posted 12 road wins in a row.
• The road winning streak has been highlighted by Liberty's first-ever victory at James Madison (Dec. 4) and a perfect 9-0 mark in Big South road tilts.
• Liberty has outscored its opponents by an average of 24.1 ppg and outrebounded opponents by 18.2 rpg during the road winning streak.
Liberty honored seniors Devon Brown, Brittany Campbell, Terika Lunsford, Tolu Omotola and LaKendra Washington prior to Saturday's regular-season finale against Charleston Southern. During the past four years, the Lady Flames have gone 97-32 and made two NCAA Tournament appearances.
• The five players have combined for 3,733 points and 1,824 rebounds during their time with the Lady Flames.
A Good Sign?
Liberty posted an 88-62 victory over Charleston Southern in its regular-season finale, improving to 12-2 in their last regular-season contest under head coach Carey Green.
• Ten of the previous 11 times the Lady Flames have won their regular-season finale under Green, they have gone on to win the Big South Championship title.
A Look Back at Liberty's 88-62 Regular-Season Finale Win Over Charleston Southern
• Liberty closed out the 2012-13 regular season with an 88-62 victory over Charleston Southern, Saturday afternoon at the Vines Center.
• The Lady Flames' 11th straight victory enabled them to tie the Big South record for conference wins in a season with 16.
• Liberty made five three-pointers, breaking the program single-season record for triples with 152 on the year.
• The Lady Flames committed a season-low 10 turnovers.
• For the 25th straight game, Liberty kept its opponent below 50 percent field goal shooting, as the Lady Buccaneers ended up at 36.7 percent (18-of-49).
• Liberty won the rebounding battle, 54-25, including 24 offensive boards.
• On Senior Day, the Lady Flames' five seniors (Devon Brown, Brittany Campbell, Terika Lunsford, Tolu Omotola and LaKendra Washington) combined for 54 points and 26 rebounds.
• Omotola led all players with 21 points, while grabbing eight rebounds.
• Brown added 19 points and 11 boards for her second double-double of the season.
• Jasmine Gardner contributed 11 points and a career-high 15 rebounds (10 offensive) for her third double-double of the year. It was the most rebounds by any Lady Flame this season, even though Gardner played only 20 minutes.
• Lunsford scored a season-high nine points off the bench.
• Campbell topped the Lady Flames with a season high-equaling five assists, while fellow senior Washington came up with a team-high and season-high three steals.
11 in a Row
Liberty is in the midst of its longest winning streak of the 2012-13 season, at 11 games. The following are some keys to the streak, which began on Jan. 19 against Campbell.
• Tolu Omotola is leading the team in both points (15.0) and rebounds (8.3).
• At the offensive end, Liberty is shooting 34.5 percent from three-point range and dishing out 16.4 assists per game.
• Opponents are shooting only 31.3 percent from the field.
• Liberty is outscoring opponents by an average of 22.3 ppg (74.7 to 52.5).
Liberty broke the program single-season record for three-pointers made during Saturday's win over Charleston Southern, finishing the contest with 152 triples on the year.
• The existing record of 147 made three-pointers was set in 2001-02, when Kristal Tharp led the team with 34 triples.
Liberty redshirt seniors Devon Brown and Tolu Omotola are both nearing career milestones as they enter their final Big South Women's Basketball Championship. Brown needs 73 points to reach 2,000 for her career, while Omotola is 56 points shy of the 1,000-point barrier.
Rulers of the Rebounds
Liberty topped the nation in rebound margin in 2011-12, outrebounding opponents by a school-record margin of 15.6 boards per game. Liberty has ranked among the nation's top five teams for rebound margin in each of the last 10 seasons, leading the country on four occasions.
• The Lady Flames are off to a strong start on the glass again in 2012-13, ranking No. 1 nationally for rebound margin in the most recent NCAA national statistical report, at +17.1.
• The Lady Flames are on track to post their highest rebound margin in a single season. The program record is +15.6, set last season. Also, only four teams have finished with a rebound margin of +17.0 or higher in NCAA Division I women's basketball history.
The Container is Half Empty
• Liberty has played strong defense this season, limiting opponents to 33.4 percent field goal shooting. The Lady Flames have held 25 consecutive foes below 50 percent from the field, with nine of them shooting below 30 percent.
• Since the start of the 2007-08 season, only six teams have shot 50 percent against Liberty in 194 games. By way of comparison, the Lady Flames have shot 50 percent 54 times during that span.
A Winning Tradition
At 24-6, Liberty has clinched its 17th consecutive winning season. The streak started in 1996-97, the first year that the Lady Flames won the Big South Conference title.
• With its 16-2 conference record, Liberty has posted its 14th consecutive season with double-digit Big South wins.
• Liberty has tied the single-season record for Big South wins (16), which the Lady Flames set in 2011-12.
• Liberty has posted its sixth straight 20-win season and 15th 20-win campaign in the last 17 years.
• Liberty has recorded double-digit road victories for the fourth season in a row.