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Challenging Schedule Awaits Lady Flames in 2007-08
The Liberty women's basketball team will have to weather a challenging 2007-08 season schedule if the Lady Flames hope to record their 12th-consecutive winning season. Liberty will play five games against 2007 NCAA Tournament qualifiers, including North Carolina, which reached the Final Four, and will play 11 regular-season contests versus teams which won 20-plus games last season.
After the Lady Flames' Nov. 8 home exhibition contest against Athletes in Action, Liberty fans will have to wait until the final day of November to see the Lady Flames in action again at the Vines Center. The team's first six regular-season games will take place away from Lynchburg, and ninth-year head coach Carey Green's squad will open the 2007-08 season with a pair of trips to Greensboro, N.C.
The Lady Flames are slated to meet UNC Greensboro, 20-10 a year ago, in the lid-lifter on Nov. 13. Three days later, Liberty will return to Greensboro to battle North Carolina A&T, which returns its entire roster from last season's 17-13 squad.
On Nov. 19, Liberty will square off with the first of two ACC opponents on its schedule, when the Lady Flames travel to Cassell Coliseum to play Virginia Tech. The Lady Flames are still seeking their first-ever victory over the Hokies, who went 19-15 and reached the second round of the 2007 WNIT Tournament.
Later that week, the Lady Flames will celebrate Thanksgiving in Cincinnati, Ohio, just down the road from Megan, Molly and Moriah Frazee's hometown of Xenia. Liberty will play a trio of games in the National City Xavier Invitational at Xavier's Cintas Center, Nov. 23-25.
Green's Lady Flames will meet McNeese State on the opening day of the tournament, Houston on Saturday and Xavier on Sunday. The host Musketeers went 26-8 in 2006-07, capturing the Atlantic-10 Tournament title and earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Liberty has never faced any of its three tournament opponents on the hardwood.
A four-game homestand, beginning with the home opener versus Virginia Union on Nov. 30, will open the Lady Flames' slate of 13 games at the Vines Center. In-state rival James Madison, coming off a 27-6 season, which netted the Dukes an at-large NCAA Tournament berth, travels to Liberty on Dec. 4.
The string of home games will come to an end with back-to-back Saturday match-ups, a contest against Binghamton on Dec. 8 and Liberty's first-ever game versus Glenville State on Dec. 15. Glenville State won 33 games a year ago on its way to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
Liberty's final two games before Christmas will be played in Las Vegas, at the UNLV Lady Rebel Christmas Classic. The Lady Flames will square off with Ball State, which was 24-7 during the 2006-07 campaign and participated in the WNIT Tournament, in the tournament opener on Dec. 20. After Liberty's first-ever meeting with the Cardinals, the Lady Flames will face either Austin Peay or host UNLV the following evening, with either the championship or third place at stake.
The 2007 calendar year comes to a close with a trip to Carmichael Auditorium to battle North Carolina for the second time in three seasons. The Tar Heels return three starters from their back-to-back Final Four qualifiers.
Two of the Lady Flames' first three January contests will be played at the Vines Center, a Jan. 5 game with Richmond and a Jan. 15 match-up against George Mason. Sandwiched in between the two games is a Jan. 8 road trip to East Tennessee State. Senior Courtney Watkins will return to her home state when the Lady Flames tangle with the Buccaneers, who won 20 games and earned a WNIT bid last season.
"It is our goal to return to the NCAA Tournament this season, and our non-conference schedule was put together with that objective in mind," stated Green. "It is our hope that playing ACC teams, like North Carolina and Virginia Tech, as well as top-flight mid-major programs like James Madison and Xavier will prepare us for the rigors of conference play and acclimate our newcomers to the collegiate game."
Liberty will start Big South competition with the "Beach Trip," as the Lady Flames are scheduled to play at Charleston Southern on Jan. 19 and at Coastal Carolina on Jan. 21.
After the Lady Flames return to the Commonwealth, six of the next seven contests will be played at home, beginning with a Jan. 26 visit by Presbyterian. The Blue Hose, in transition to the Division I level, will become full members of the Big South Conference in 2011-12. Presbyterian will be another of the Lady Flames' first-time opponents.
Liberty will then play host to defending Big South regular-season champion High Point on Jan. 29 and Winthrop on Feb. 2. A Feb. 6 visit to Radford, which won 20 games last season, will break up the string of home games.
2007 Big South champion UNC Asheville is scheduled to play at Liberty on Feb. 9, to wrap up the first round of conference play. The Lady Flames are slated to host Coastal Carolina a week later and Charleston Southern on Feb. 18.
Liberty will return to the road for a trio of conference contests, beginning with a tilt at High Point on Feb. 23. Match-ups at Winthrop on Feb. 27 and at UNC Asheville on March 1 follow.
The regular season will come to a close with a March 7 home game versus Radford. Seniors Allyson Fasnacht, Egle Smigleskaite and Watkins will be honored prior to tip-off.
For the second-consecutive year, UNC Asheville's Justice Center will play host to the Big South Women's Basketball Championship. The tournament will be held March 13-15, with the winner earning the conference's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Tournament is set to tip off on March 22.