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Flames Feature: A Change In Circumstances
Change. We all go through it.
As we pass through various stages in life, we each are forced to adapt to different environments and circumstances. For instance, going to school for the first time is one stage of life which necessitates changes in our lives. Moving away from home is another. And, as we graduate from high school and decide to attend college, we must once again adjust to a new environment.
Whether it is living away from home, the way we spend our day, having to study or interacting with new people, each first-time college student must deal with change.
Just like thousands of freshman students each year, Liberty sophomore forward Molly Frazee faced the challenge of adapting to the experience of college life during the fall of 2005. Along with her sisters, Megan and Moriah, the triplet from Xenia, Ohio, not only needed to adjust to the differences in life all beginning college students have, but after a successful prep career, had to deal with changes on the basketball court as well.
"I really didn't know what to expect when I came here," recalled Frazee. "I have to admit it wasn't a smooth transition for me."
When I came in last year, Coach (Carey) Green wasn't sure whether he wanted me to play a wing or in the post. So, I ended up going back and forth and playing both."
Coming in as a freshman, you have to learn all new plays and I had to learn both positions. It got frustrating," continued the sophomore. "I would forget the plays, moving from one position to the other. And of course, if you can't run the plays, you aren't going to play much."
While all newcomers to a basketball team must learn new plays and adjust to new roles, Frazee and her sisters also had to make another adjustment.
"Until the three of us came here last year, our dad had been our coach since we all began basketball in the fifth grade," stated one-third of the only set of triplets playing NCAA Division I basketball this season. "Coming here was a big change, not having him on the bench."
And it is her father, Jim, who she credits for her sisters' and her basketball skills.
"He stressed the fundamentals. Since we grew gradually, we developed our outside shooting. So, it helped all three of us to develop inside and outside skills."
Besides their father, Frazee credits her older brother, Zeb, for the triplets' basketball interest.
"Megan began playing basketball on Zeb's team and Moriah and I followed a year later," laughed the 6-2 Frazee. "When we were younger, the four of us would play a lot of two-on-two games, but as we got older and Zeb got stronger, it was a little bit tougher for us to play him, so we still played horse and different shooting games, but not so much of the contact stuff."
Not only are the Frazees tightly knit on the basketball court, but off it as well. As a matter of fact, the family's closeness played a role in the girls' decision to come to Liberty.
"We wanted to play basketball at a school where our dad could come to our games and see all the hard work he put into us pay off," stated Frazee. "We asked our parents if they would be willing to move and when they said they would, we really started leaning toward coming here."
Their brother, about a year and a half older, soon followed, transferring to Liberty last winter.
After getting acclimated to college basketball and college life in general last year, Frazee sees her second season as a Lady Flame being a much smoother experience as she knows what to expect. It has also been helped by the fact the Liberty coaching staff decided to make her a post player full time this season.
Although she had played in the post some during her basketball career, she had never faced the challenge of playing with her back to the basket on a regular basis.
"Our coaching staff gave us post workouts, which I worked hard on this summer with Moriah," said Frazee. "She is the same height as me and we are very competitive. I also think she positions herself well, so working with her really helped me to develop my post skills.
"I also worked with my sisters on attacking the basket and being more aggressive. When I returned this fall, Coach Green put me in the post and I have become more comfortable as I now know what my role is on the team."
Her new role and a year's experience have also meant more playing time. In her first season with the Lady Flames, Frazee averaged 10 minutes per contest, while this year, she is averaging close to 20. In addition, her improved individual rebounding numbers have helped Liberty to a sizeable rebounding advantage over its opponents, something the Lady Flames take pride in. Liberty has been ranked among the top 20 nationally in rebounding for most of the current season.
"Our coaches stress rebounding," noted the nursing major. "As far as the post players go, if you want to play, you have to rebound. We want to out-rebound everyone we play."
Despite the noticeable improvement in her skills, Frazee realizes there is still more to be done.
"I have a lot of things to work on," she commented. "Not only in basketball, but off the court as well, I strive to keep getting better. I believe you can always improve."
The triplet sees the same thing with this season's edition of the Liberty Lady Flames basketball team as well. After starting strong with a 5-0 mark, including the program's first win at Virginia to begin the year, the Lady Flames hit a span in which they saw their fortunes reverse, dropping several close contests. However, since the stretch of setbacks, the 10-time defending Big South Champions have rebounded and returned to their winning ways.
Just like her learning to play the post will take time and present new challenges, Frazee says her teammates needed the same dedication to find their roles and adjust to changes made by their opponents. "We had to learn to how to play a complete game for 40 minutes and finish strong. We need to be ready to start strong and continue it throughout the game.
"It's a process. You just don't turn on a switch and the next day, be really great."
Over the past decade, the Liberty women's basketball program has learned to adapt to new challenges and changing circumstances to win 10-straight Big South Conference crowns. And, this season will be no different as Molly Frazee and her teammates hope adjustments and adaptations will enable the Lady Flames to continue the run and capture their 11th trophy.
By Ryan Bomberger
Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director