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WBB Game Day Central: Gardner-Webb
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Liberty (14-10, 10-5 Big South) will wrap up its two-game road swing Saturday at 3 p.m. when the Lady Flames visit Gardner-Webb (14-10, 9-6 Big South). Liberty will attempt to complete a regular-season sweep of the Runnin' Bulldogs.
The "Starting Five" - Today's Top Storylines
1) Saturday's matinee will match up two of the teams currently in line for a coveted top-five seed and bye to the quarterfinals of the Big South Women's Basketball Championship. Liberty is tied with Campbell for third place at 10-5, while Gardner-Webb ranks fifth at 9-6.
2) Gardner-Webb is 11-1 at home this season. Meanwhile, Liberty will be trying to halt a three-game road losing streak. The Lady Flames have played well in Boiling Springs in past years, going 4-1 at Paul Porter Arena all-time.
3) Liberty leads the nation in rebound margin at +14.4, while Gardner-Webb ranks No. 18 nationally at +8.8. The Lady Flames outrebounded the Runnin' Bulldogs by a single board (45-44) during the teams' first matchup of the season.
4) The Lady Flames will look to bounce back from Thursday's setback at Presbyterian College by continuing their recent string of impressive defensive performances. Liberty has held its last three opponents to just 45.7 ppg. The Lady Flames limited Gardner-Webb to a season-low 40 points during the teams' contest on Jan. 9.
5) Reagan Miller has traditionally played well against Gardner-Webb in her career, averaging 13.2 ppg while shooting 51.7 percent (15-of-29) from three-point range. Miller sank five triples at Paul Porter Arena on Jan. 30, 2012, which is still tied for her career high. The Lady Flames are 5-0 versus the Runnin' Bulldogs during Miller's career.
Liberty vs. Gardner-Webb At a Glance
Series Record: Liberty leads, 11-3.
Current Streak: Liberty has won five consecutive meetings.
Series Record at Gardner-Webb: Liberty leads, 4-1.
Current Streak at Gardner-Webb: Liberty has won three consecutive meetings.
Last Meeting Overall: Liberty 72, Gardner-Webb 40 (Jan. 9, 2014 at Liberty)
Last Meeting at Gardner-Webb: Liberty 55, Gardner-Webb 40 (Feb. 23, 2013)
Gardner-Webb's Last Series Victory: GWU 67, Liberty 66 (March 13, 2011 at HPU)
Gardner-Webb's Last Series Victory at Home: GWU 70, Liberty 65 (Jan. 2, 2010)
Liberty Head Coach: Carey Green
Overall Record (Seasons): 351-120 (15th Season)
Record at Liberty (Seasons): Same
Record vs. Gardner-Webb: 11-3
Gardner-Webb Head Coach: Rick Reeves
Overall Record (Seasons): 416-391 (28th Season)
Record at Gardner-Webb (Seasons): 149-153 (10th Season)
Record vs. Liberty: 3-11
Notes and Anecdotes
• Liberty has won five straight matchups with Gardner-Webb, including a 72-40 triumph at the Vines Center on Jan. 9. That day, Ashley Rininger (22 points, 10 rebounds) and Katelyn Adams (15 points, 13 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles and the Lady Flames held the Runnin' Bulldogs to a season-low scoring output.
• Liberty and Gardner-Webb have squared off in the Big South Championship four times in the last five years, including three straight times (2009, 2010 & 2011) in the title game.
• Gardner-Webb is 11-1 at home this year. Meanwhile, Liberty has lost three consecutive road games.
• Liberty leads the nation in rebound margin at +14.4 but will be tested on Saturday. Gardner-Webb ranks second in the Big South and No. 18 nationally at +8.8. The Lady Flames won the rebounding battle by a slim 45-44 margin in the teams' first meeting this year.
• Coming off of an 18-point effort during Thursday's overtime win over Longwood, Gardner-Webb senior Jasmine Dale sits just 12 points shy of 1,000 for her career.
• Liberty's Jaymee Fisher-Davis and Gardner-Webb's Mayhana Dunovant were teammates at Butler High School in 2010-11, helping their team go 30-1.
• Rick Reeves was Liberty's head coach for nine seasons (1990-91 through 1998-99).
Liberty has played strong defense during its last three games, allowing 45.7 ppg and holding opponents to 32 percent field goal shooting and 25.5 percent from three-point range.
• Liberty has now held six opponents to fewer than 50 points this season, including the Jan. 9 matchup with Gardner-Webb, when the Runnin' Bulldogs were limited to a season-low 40 points.
Liberty has lost three consecutive road games, falling to 5-6 in road tilts this season. It is the Lady Flames' longest road losing streak since a four-game skid spanning the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.
Not Much Luck in North Carolina
Saturday will mark Liberty's final game in North Carolina during the 2013-14 regular season. The Lady Flames have had trouble in the Tar Heel State this year, going 1-4 with the lone win coming at UNCW on Dec. 19.
Liberty has played plenty of close games this season, including four overtime games and six contests decided by five points or fewer. However, the Lady Flames are just 1-3 in overtime and 0-6 in games decided by five points or fewer.
A Look Back at Liberty's 46-43 Loss at Presbyterian College
• Presbyterian College senior guard Karlee Taylor scored her team's final eight points of Thursday evening's matchup with Liberty, including four crucial free throws in the final 21.5 seconds which sealed a 46-43 Blue Hose victory inside the Templeton Center.
• It was Liberty's third straight road loss and first-ever loss at PC in five visits.
• PC won for the fourth time in its last five games, improving to 2-10 all-time against the Lady Flames.
• The nation's No. 4-ranked scoring defense, Presbyterian College limited the Lady Flames to season-lows for points (43), field goal percentage (30 percent, 15-of-50) and three-point field goal percentage (5.9 percent, 1-of-17).
• Liberty held a 13-10 halftime lead despite enduring its lowest-scoring period since a 13-point first half at Virginia on Dec. 7, 2011.
• PC, which did not score a point for more than 10 minutes to start the game, rebounded to shoot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the field during the second half.
• The Blue Hose became just the second team to outrebound Liberty on the season, finishing with a 34-32 edge on the glass.
• Liberty equaled its season low with 11 turnovers.
• The Lady Flames fell to 50-5 in games played in South Carolina under head coach Carey Green.
• Sadalia Ellis was the lone Lady Flame to score in double figures, finishing with 10 points and a team-high three assists.
• Mickayla Sanders added eight points and a career-best three steals.
• Katelyn Adams chipped in seven points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Shortage of Losing Streaks
Liberty recently lost back-to-back games to Big South opponents (High Point and Campbell). It was the first time since Feb. 20 and 22, 1997 that the Lady Flames dropped consecutive contests to Big South foes, including regular-season and tournament games.
• During that span, Liberty played 288 conference games and won 15 Big South championships.
• Liberty will now try to avoid dropping consecutive games to Big South foes for the second time this season, after Thursday's loss at Presbyterian College.