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Lady Flames Set For Regular Season Finale At Radford
The Liberty Lady Flames (18-10, 10-3 Big South) close the regular season with a game at intra-state rival Radford (17-10, 9-4 Big South). A Liberty win would secure at least a share of its 10th-straight Big South regular season title and complete a season sweep of the Highlanders.
The Last Time Out
Liberty fell behind Birmingham-Southern by 14 points in the first half and by 11 points in the second, Monday evening at Bill Battle Coliseum, before rallying for a 79-66 win. Megan Frazee led four Lady Flames in double figures with 14 points and six rebounds, while Courtney Watkins added a season-high 11 markers. The Panthers' Reba Ross led all players with 16 points and eight rebounds, but her team still fell to 0-13 all-time against Liberty.
Lady Flames On The Air
All Lady Flames basketball games can be heard LIVE on WWMC 90.9 FM "The Light." Jamie Hall, who is celebrating his 13th year of broadcasting Lady Flames basketball, will once again be handling the courtside play-by-play duties for most road games and selected home contests. Jerod Brooks and Nick Pierce will serve as the primary commentators for home games.
Radford has lost two of its last three games, including an 84-70 setback at UNC Asheville on Wednesday, to fall a game behind Big South co-leaders, High Point and Liberty. The Highlanders still have a chance to share their first conference regular season title since 1992 if they can defeat Liberty and Winthrop upsets High Point. Radford's 17 wins are the most for the program since 1996, which also marked the Highlanders' last trip to the NCAA Tournament.
While Radford has three seniors who will be recognized on Saturday, it is a junior, 6-3 center Kelli Darden, who has starred for the Highlanders in recent weeks. She has earned Big South Player of the Week laurels two out of the last three times. Darden leads the team and ranks seventh in the conference with 12.7 ppg. She also leads the Big South in blocked shots, averaging 2.8 bpg. Radford also features the conference leader in steals (2.9 spg) and assists (4.9 apg), 5-8 sophomore guard Johnette Walker and the rebounding leader (8.7 rpg), 6-1 junior forward Corrie Fertitta.
The Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his eighth season with the Lady Flames. He owns a 184-62 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.748) ranked ninth among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the season's outset.
Jeri Porter, a Liberty alumnus, is 67-72 in her fifth year at Radford. The 25th-leading scorer in Lady Flames basketball history, Porter was just passed by Megan Frazee on Monday. Porter is 131-125 in her collegiate coaching career, which also includes four years at North Alabama.
Liberty has won 15-straight contests with Radford to take a 22-21 lead in the all-time head-to-head series.
The Lady Flames won the teams' first meeting this season, 79-66, at the Vines Center on Jan. 27. The victory snapped a seven-game Radford winning streak. Liberty broke open a close game with a 16-4, second-half run, taking advantage of a 7:26 Radford scoreless drought. Megan Frazee scored 27 points and Rebecca Lightfoot added a career-high 13 markers to pace the Lady Flames' attack. Kelli Darden led the visitors with 19 points, seven boards and four blocked shots.
Radford's most recent win over Liberty came during Carey Green's first game against the Highlanders, at the Dedmon Center on Jan. 29, 2000. Catrice Horton lifted Radford to a 56-51 win with her 21 points and nine rebounds. Meribeth Feenstra starred for Liberty, totaling 13 points, eight boards and three blocked shots.
Fasnacht's Favorite Time of Year
Allyson Fasnacht has stepped up her play during Big South Conference action throughout her career. Her career averages in non-conference games stand at 4.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg and 2.2 apg. Once conference play begins, the junior's career averages have increased to 6.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg and 2.9 apg.
Marvelous in March
Liberty has gone 26-7 during the month of March under Carey Green, with all seven setbacks coming in the NCAA Tournament. The Lady Flames are 5-0 in the regular season, 19-0 in the Big South Championship and 2-7 in the "Big Dance" during the year's third month, under his direction. Last season, Liberty was victorious in four-of-five March outings.
The Lady Flames are 34-32 all-time in March contests and did not pick up their first victory in the month until the program's 13th season. Liberty's initial March triumph was an 82-69 win over Randolph-Macon on March 3, 1988.
Reaching Double Figures
Junior Courtney Watkins tossed in a season-best 11 points at Birmingham-Southern on Monday. Of Liberty's 14 players, 12 have recorded a double-figure scoring effort this season. Megan Frazee (26 times), Molly Frazee (nine times), Moriah Frazee (eight times), Michelle Parker (six times), Roli-Ann Nikagbatse (five times), Rebecca Lightfoot (four times), Allyson Fasnacht (two times), Rachel Hammond (two times), Karolina Piotrkiewicz (two times), Jamie Feagin (once) and Leslie Jones (once) have also done so.
Finishing With a W
The Lady Flames have closed each of the last nine regular seasons with a win, including a 69-58 home victory over Radford to wrap up the 2005-06 campaign. The last Liberty team to end with a loss was the 1996-97 club, which closed its regular season slate with back-to-back setbacks against UNC Greensboro and Winthrop.
Championship Streaks Continue
Liberty hoisted the Big South Championship trophy for the 10th-straight year a season ago, keeping alive the second-longest active string of conference tournament titles in the nation. Only Old Dominion, among NCAA Division I teams, currently owns a longer streak, having won 15-consecutive CAA conference crowns.
The Lady Flames have also earned nine-straight Big South regular season titles, which is the longest active streak in a single Division I conference. Louisiana Tech has won 15-consecutive regular season crowns, but they are split between the Sun Belt and the WAC.
Liberty in the NCAA Rankings
Liberty currently ranks in the Top 20 nationally in three NCAA statistical categories: Rebounding Margin (sixth, +10.1), Field Goal Percentage Defense (11th, .350) and Scoring Defense (17th, 55.2 ppg).
Green Tops in Big South
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green currently ranks as the winningest coach in Big South Conference history with a .748 winning percentage. His 184 career wins also put him atop the conference's coaching list.
Green is 101-10 in Big South Conference games, and is now also the all-time leader in Big South Conference victories. He passed former Radford coach Luby Lichonczak with a Feb. 19 win over Charleston Southern.
Liberty and Winning Seasons
The Lady Flames have posted 10-consecutive winning seasons and 14 total winning seasons in their 31 years of competition. Liberty is now assured of its 11th-straight winning season, as the team is 18-10 with one regular-season game remaining.
Coach Carey Green Versus The Big South
Liberty is 122-10 (.924) against Big South opponents under Carey Green's direction since he took the helm prior to the 1999-2000 campaign. The Lady Flames are 101-10 in regular season conference games and 21-0 in the Big South Championship. The Lady Flames have not lost to current Big South members Coastal Carolina (19-0), Winthrop (19-0), Charleston Southern (18-0) and Birmingham-Southern (13-0) with Green as head coach.
Triple the Trouble
The Nov. 11 season opener against Norfolk State marked the first time all three Frazee triplets (Megan, Molly and Moriah) scored in double figures in the same contest since arriving at Liberty. Megan led the way with 19 points, Moriah added 14 and Molly matched her then-career high with 10 markers. The trio pulled off the same feat in a Nov. 14 game at George Mason, as Megan totaled 25 points, Moriah had 15 and Molly again scored 10. The Frazees did it again at High Point on Jan. 20, as Molly totaled 13 points, Moriah 12 and Megan 10 markers.
Megan, Molly and Moriah were all included in the Liberty starting lineup on Nov. 29 at James Madison, marking the first time all three triplets have started together at Liberty. The Frazees have started together eight times.
The triplets currently account for 31.3 ppg and 16.1 rpg. Those numbers represent 46.9 percent of the Lady Flames' total scoring output and 38.3 percent of the team's total rebounds.
The Frazees, the only set of triplets currently playing Division I women's basketball, were featured on ESPN.com earlier this season, as columnist Beth Mowins wrote a piece entitled, "Liberty has three times the fun in Frazee triplets."
Megan, Molly and Moriah were featured on a segment of the CBS women's college basketball special, "Pride, Passion and Power," which aired nationally on Jan. 21.
Chasing a Pair of Records
Senior point guard Michelle Parker is currently closing in on the Liberty and Big South career games played records. She is on track to break both marks if she stays healthy and Liberty wins its first Big South Championship game.
Big South/Liberty Record
1) Daina Staugaitiene - 124 games
2) Michelle Parker - 122 games
Best in the Big South
Through the games of Feb. 28, Liberty leads the Big South Conference in scoring defense (55.6 ppg), scoring margin (+11.1), free throw percentage (.708), field goal percentage (.433), field goal percentage defense (.352), three-point field goal percentage (.339), rebounding margin (+10.3) and defensive rebounds (27.5 rpg).
Individually, Molly Frazee leads the conference in free throw percentage (.778).
Controlling the Commonwealth
Liberty fared well against in-state opponents a season ago, going 6-1 against fellow Virginia institutions. The Lady Flames went 1-0 vs. Longwood, 1-0 vs. Norfolk State, 2-0 vs. Radford, 1-0 vs. Virginia Union and 1-0 vs. William & Mary. Liberty's lone loss against a Virginia school came at Virginia Tech (12/10/05).
The Lady Flames are 6-2 against in-state opponents this season, owning victories over George Mason, Longwood, Norfolk State, Radford, Virginia and Virginia Union and dropping games against James Madison and Virginia Tech. Liberty is scheduled to play its regular season finale at Radford, on Saturday.
Liberty's reserves have scored an average of 27.4 ppg this season, good for 41.1 percent of the Lady Flames' total offensive production. Liberty's bench performers have outscored their opponent's non-starters in 24-of-28 games thus far, by an average of 13.9 ppg. Opponents' reserves have been limited to 10 points or fewer 10 times.
Long Distance Connection
The Lady Flames have made at least one three-pointer in 68-straight games, a streak which began on Jan. 26, 2005. This is Liberty's longest such streak since the Lady Flames went 82-consecutive games with a three-pointer between Jan. 24, 1998 and Dec. 20, 2000.
Ripping Down the Rebounds
In 22 out of 28 games this season, Liberty has won the rebounding battle. The Lady Flames are outrebounding opponents by 10.4 caroms per game, a figure which leads the Big South and ranked sixth nationally in the most recent NCAA statistical report.
Such dominance on the boards is nothing new for the Lady Flames, who led the nation in rebounding margin in 2003-04 and 2004-05 and ranked third in the category a season ago.
The Lady Flames outrebounded Birmingham-Southern by 17 caroms Monday evening, 43-26. Liberty has now won the rebounding battle by double digits in each of its last seven games, including a season-best 34-rebound advantage versus Charleston Southern on Feb. 19.
The Lady Flames have made it very difficult for opponents to score this season. Liberty foes are shooting just 35.2 percent from the field, a statistic which ranked 11th in the nation in the most recent NCAA report.
Liberty has held nine opponents below the 50-point plateau this season.
Did You Know?
. . . Junior guard Courtney Watkins has appeared in all 92 games the Lady Flames have played since she set foot on campus?
. . . Sophomore guard/forward Megan Frazee has recorded 15 20-point games during her career at Liberty, but she is the only current Lady Flame who has reached the 20-point plateau in her career? (Allyson Fasnacht and Moriah each have a 19-point game to their credit.)
Farewell to Four Seniors
Last Saturday night's game represented the final home contest for Liberty's quartet of seniors--Jamie Feagin, Leslie Jones, Michelle Parker and Karolina Piotrkiewicz. The Lady Flames are 94-30 (.758) in the past four years and went 50-6 (.893) at the Vines Center during that time.
Noting the Nineties
The Lady Flames' Feb. 19, 91-40 win over Charleston Southern marked the first time Liberty has scored 90 or more points in a Big South Conference game since joining the league for the 1991-92 season.
Liberty has now scored 90 or more points three times this season. The Lady Flames previously did so twice in a six-day span at the start of the year, notching 91 points against Norfolk State on Nov. 11 and 97 markers versus Columbia Union on Nov. 16.
The Lady Flames had not recorded three 90-point games in a single season since 1986-87, when they did so four times, including two 100-point performances.
Double the Fun
Megan Frazee and Karolina Piotrkiewicz are the only two Lady Flames who have a double-double to their credit in their career at Liberty. Frazee has posted 10 double-doubles this season, ranking second in the Big South in the category, and has tallied 19 for her career. Six of Frazee's double-doubles this year have been of the 20-point, 10-rebound variety. The rest of the conference has accomplished the feat only seven times all season.
Piotrkiewicz totaled 14 points and 12 boards against Columbia Union on Nov. 16 for her lone double-double this season. She recorded five double-doubles during the 2005-06 season, giving her six for her career.
Getting Off to a Fast Start
Liberty has owned a halftime lead in 21-of-28 games this season and is outscoring opponents by an average of 7.6 ppg during the opening 20 minutes of play. Of the six times the Lady Flames trailed at the intermission, they have come from behind to win three times, all on the road (at George Mason, at Virginia, at Birmingham-Southern). On the other hand, Liberty has lost six games in which it held a halftime lead (vs. Virginia Tech, at George Washington, vs. Texas-Arlington, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. UNC Greensboro and vs. High Point).
Down But Not Out
Birmingham-Southern led Liberty, 24-10, with 11:20 left in the first half before the Lady Flames came back to win on Monday. The 14-point deficit is the largest Liberty has overcome this season. The Lady Flames previously came back from 13 points down at Virginia on Nov. 20 and from 10 points behind at George Mason on Nov. 14.