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WBB Game Day Central: Longwood
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Liberty (11-7, 7-2 Big South) will host a rematch of the 2013 Big South Women's Basketball Championship title game Thursday at 7 p.m. when Longwood (6-12, 3-6 Big South) visits the Vines Center.
The "Starting Five" - Today's Top Storylines
1) The last time Liberty and Longwood squared off, the Big South Championship title trophy was at stake, March 10, 2013 at The HTC Center in Conway, S.C. The Lady Flames recorded a 54-45 win, claiming their 15th Big South title in 17 seasons.
2) Liberty will attempt to bounce back from its 83-80 overtime setback at UNC Asheville on Saturday and remain atop the Big South standings. The Lady Flames have not lost back-to-back conference games since Feb. 20 and 22, 1997.
3) Liberty will look for its 10th consecutive win over Longwood, as the Lady Flames have not lost to the Lancers since Feb. 12, 1988, during Liberty's last season as an NCAA Division II program. Longwood has never won inside the Vines Center, as the Lancers are 0-4 all-time at the facility.
4) Liberty will aim to control the boards on Thursday. The Lady Flames currently lead the nation in rebound margin at +15.6. Last season, Liberty outrebounded Longwood by an average of 28.0 boards per game during the teams' three matchups.
5) Ashley Rininger will attempt to tie Megan Frazee's (2006-07) Liberty sophomore class record of 13 double-doubles in a season. Rininger recorded a double-double during Liberty's home victory over Longwood last year, tallying 16 points and 12 rebounds. She is averaging 20.2 ppg and 10.3 rpg during her last six games.
Liberty vs. Longwood At a Glance
Series Record: Liberty leads, 16-15.
Current Streak: Liberty has won nine consecutive meetings.
Series Record at Liberty: Liberty leads, 10-4.
Current Streak at Liberty: Liberty has won five consecutive meetings.
Last Meeting Overall: Liberty 54, Longwood 45 (March 10, 2013 at Coastal Carolina)
Last Meeting at Liberty: Liberty 91, Longwood 58 (Jan. 26, 2013)
Longwood's Last Series Victory: Longwood 95, Liberty 88 (Feb. 12, 1988 at Long.)
Longwood's Last Series Victory at Liberty: Longwood 87, Liberty 75 (Jan. 26, 1988)
Liberty Head Coach: Carey Green
Overall Record (Seasons): 348-117 (15th Season)
Record at Liberty (Seasons): Same
Record vs. Longwood: 8-0
Longwood Head Coach: Bill Reinson
Overall Record (Seasons): 33-70 (Fourth Season)
Record at Longwood (Seasons): Same
Record vs. Liberty: 0-4
Notes and Anecdotes
• Thursday's game will be a rematch of the 2013 Big South Women's Basketball Championship title contest, played March 10, 2013 at The HTC Center in Conway, S.C. No. 1 seed Liberty ended No. 7 seed Longwood's Cinderella run with a 54-45 victory, earning its 15th Big South Championship crown in 17 years.
• Longwood is seeking its first win over Liberty since Feb. 12, 1988, as the Lady Flames have won all nine head-to-head matchups with their Route 460 foe since gaining NCAA Division I status prior to the 1988-89 season.
• Longwood has never won at the Vines Center. The Lancers are 0-4 all-time at the facility, with all four losses coming by 18 or more points.
• The Lancers have been no stranger to close games this season, as 10 of their first 18 games have been decided by less than 10 points. Longwood is 6-4 in such contests.
• Longwood picked up arguably the biggest win in program history on Nov. 21, when the Lancers notched a 67-64 triumph at BIG EAST foe Xavier.
• Longwood is led by 5-3 sophomore guard Daeisha Brown, a Preseason All-Big South honoree. She tops the Lancers in scoring (16.4 ppg) and assists (2.9 apg) while ranking second on the team in rebounding (4.9 rpg) despite her small stature.
Shortage of Losing Streaks
Liberty will look to bounce back from an 83-80 overtime loss at UNC Asheville. The Lady Flames have been very good at avoiding conference losing streaks in recent years.
• The Lady Flames have not lost back-to-back Big South games (including regular-season and tournament tilts) since Feb. 20 and 22, 1997 (versus UNCG and Winthrop).
• Since then, Liberty has played 286 games against Big South opponents and captured 15 conference titles.
Competing Against the Commonwealth
Liberty is 2-2 against in-state opponents this season, with wins over Richmond and Radford and losses to Virginia and James Madison. Thursday's game will be the Lady Flames' first against a Commonwealth foe since a 70-49 home win over Radford on Dec. 7 in the Big South opener.
A Look Back at Liberty's 83-80 Overtime Loss at UNC Asheville
• For the first time in 30 years, Liberty went to overtime for the second straight game, Saturday afternoon at UNC Asheville's Kimmel Arena.
• For the first time in 17 seasons, Asheville pulled out a home win over the Lady Flames, posting an 83-80 overtime victory.
• Asheville only led for 2:54 of the game and trailed by five with 54.2 seconds remaining in regulation before rallying.
• Liberty saw numerous winning streaks halted, as the Lady Flames entered Saturday's matinee having won three straight road games, five consecutive games overall, 13 straight meetings with UNC Asheville and 16 consecutive road games against the Bulldogs.
• The setback dropped Liberty into a tie with Winthrop for first place in the Big South standings at 7-2.
• Free throw shooting played a key role in the outcome, as UNC Asheville shot 23-of-26 for 88.5 percent. Meanwhile, Big South free throw percentage leader Liberty shot 25-of-37 for 67.6 percent.
• Liberty outrebounded its 16th straight opponent, 49-31, and converted 20 offensive boards into 19 second-chance points.
• Ashley Rininger's streak of five straight double-doubles came to an end, but she did lead all players with 21 points. It gave her back-to-back 20-point games for the first time in her career and six 20-point games on the season.
• Katelyn Adams recorded her third double-double of the season and the fifth of her career, with 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
• Catherine Kearney added 11 points and eight boards, including seven offensive caroms.
• Emily Frazier also tallied 11 points, while dishing out a season-high nine assists and grabbing five boards.
• Liberty's five sophomores (Katelyn Adams, Sadalia Ellis, Jaymee Fisher-Davis, Catherine Kearney and Ashley Rininger) are playing an important role for the Lady Flames during the 2013-14 season.
• The sophomores are scoring 56.4 percent of Liberty's points thus far, averaging 39.8 points per game.
• Ashley Rininger is leading the way, having improved significantly upon her numbers from 2012-13. She is averaging a team-high 16.7 ppg this season, after scoring 6.9 ppg a year ago. Rininger was named Big South Women's Basketball Player of the Week on Dec. 2 and 23.
Liberty's back-to-back overtime games at Winthrop and UNC Asheville last week were the Lady Flames' first consecutive overtime tilts since Dec. 9 and 10, 1983 against Navy and College of Notre Dame. Liberty has never played three straight overtime contests.
Among the Nation's Elite
At +15.6, LIberty leads the nation in rebound margin, while ranking No. 37 in free throw percentage (.745) and No. 38 in field goal percentage defense (.360). Individually, Ashley Rininger is tied for No. 12 nationally with 12 double-doubles, while ranking No. 24 in field goal percentage (.570) and No. 40 in rebounding (10.1 rpg).