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Lady Flames Set for National City Xavier Invitational

November 22, 2007
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Courtney Watkins is off to a strong start this season, averaging 11 points per game thus far.

Courtney Watkins is off to a strong start this season, averaging 11 points per game thus far.

Complete Game Notes (PDF format)
Live WWMC Radio Broadcast
Live Stats for McNeese State game (Courtesy of GoXavier.com)
Live Stats for Houston game (Courtesy of GoXavier.com)
Live Stats for Xavier game (Courtesy of GoXavier.com)

Game Day Central

The Games

The Liberty Lady Flames (2-1, 0-0 Big South) will attempt to bounce back from a tight loss at Virginia Tech in a trio of games at the National City Xavier Invitational, this Friday through Sunday. Liberty will meet first-time opponents McNeese State (0-5, 0-0 Southland), Houston (1-3, 0-0 Conference USA) and Xavier (2-1, 0-0 Atlantic 10) at the event. The host Musketeers are currently receiving votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 polls.

Scouting McNeese State
McNeese State returned four starters and eight total letterwinners from its 2006-07 team, but the Cowgirls have struggled out of the gate this season, dropping each of their first five decisions. Ne'Aisha Anderson, a 5-7 freshman guard, is the team scoring leader, averaging 9.8 ppg through her first five collegiate games.

The Cowgirls are coached by Brooks Donald Williams, in her initial season as a collegiate head coach, and are in the midst of a four-game Cincinnati road trip. McNeese State lost to Cincinnati, 83-44, Wednesday evening, to kick off its road swing.

Scouting Houston
Houston has three starters back from its 2006-07 squad, which went 9-19. Included among the returnees is 2007 Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year Tye Jackson, a 5-10 senior guard who averaged 22.5 ppg a season ago.

The Cougars got some bad news during the preseason, when 10th year head coach Joe Curl suffered a heart attack. Danny Hughes is serving as the interim head coach while Curl recovers and has Houston off to a 1-3 start. Twiggy McIntyre, a 5-5 senior guard, has led the Cougars with 15.3 ppg thus far.

Scouting Xavier
Xavier upset nationally ranked George Washington to win the 2007 Atlantic 10 Tournament, but only has five players back from its championship squad. Amber Harris, a 6-5 sophomore forward, headlines the returnees. She led last year's team in both scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg) and was voted Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year.

The Musketeers have won two of their first three 2007-08 matchups, including a 72-68 comeback win over Penn State on Nov. 15. Harris contributed 30 points and 13 boards to the victory. Ta'Shia Phillips, a 6-6 freshman center, has also gotten her career off to a flying start. She is averaging a double-double, with 11.7 ppg and 10.3 rpg.

The Coaching Matchups
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his ninth season with the Lady Flames. He owns a 187-65 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.742) ranked 12th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the beginning of the season.

Brooks Donald Williams is 0-5 to start her first year at McNeese State. A Mississippi State alumnus, she spent the past three seasons as and assistant coach at Southern Miss. Williams was an assistant when her Southern Miss squad was defeated by Liberty at the N.C. State Tournament, 71-60, on Dec. 3.

Joe Curl is 142-126 in nine seasons as Houston's head coach and 280-226 in 17 seasons overall. Danny Hughes is 1-3 so far this season, coaching in Curl's stead. Hughes is in his third year on Houston's staff, after serving as associate head coach for the Trinity Valley Community College men's basketball team from 2000-05.

Xavier is coached by Kevin McGuff, who is 108-51 in his sixth season with the Musketeers. He has led the Musketeers to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and four 20-win campaigns. McGuff was an assistant coach at Notre Dame for six years, prior to beginning his tenure at Xavier. He was an assistant when the Fighting Irish captured the 2001 national title.

Liberty Versus the Southland Conference
McNeese State will be just the third Southland Conference team Liberty has ever met on the hardwood. A season ago, the Lady Flames lost to Texas-Arlington in the Caribbean Classic. Liberty is also 2-1 versus Nicholls State, with the most recent meeting being a 67-49 Lady Flame home triumph on Nov. 20, 1998.

Liberty Versus Conference USA
Liberty will be meeting Houston for the first time, but the Lady Flames are 2-4 against the current membership of Conference USA. Both of Liberty's victories came during the 2005-06 season, as the Lady Flames defeated Southern Miss at the N.C. State Tournament and knocked off SMU at the Vines Center. Liberty is also 0-3 all-time against Marshall and lost its only meeting with UCF.

Liberty Versus the Atlantic 10 Conference
The Lady Flames are 4-22 against the current members of the Atlantic 10 Conference, but 21 of their 26 meetings have come against in-state rival Richmond. Liberty is 2-19 all-time versus the Spiders, entering the teams' Jan. 5 contest at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames have also faced Atlantic 10 units George Washington (1-2), Rhode Island (1-0) and UMass (0-1) during their history.

In-Season Tournament Notes
Liberty struggled during its two in-season tournaments last year, the Caribbean Classic and and the Terrapin Classic, going 0-4. Three of the Lady Flames' four setbacks came to 2007 NCAA Tournament teams.

The last time the Lady Flames went unbeaten at an in-season tournament came during their "Sweet 16" season of 2004-05. That year, Liberty took the title at Kansas State's Commerce Bank Wildcat Tournament, upsetting the host team, then ranked No. 17, in the title tilt.

Visiting the Buckeye State
This weekend, Liberty is making its first visit to Ohio, the Buckeye State, since Jan. 9, 2005. That afternoon, the Lady Flames lost to No. 9 Ohio State, 66-51, at Value City Arena.

Liberty's last trip to Cincinnati came on Nov. 14, 2003, when the Lady Flames dropped their season opener at Cincinnati, 73-62, as part of the Preseason WNIT.

Ohio is the home state of Lady Flames Megan, Molly and Moriah Frazee.

Triple the Trouble
Liberty sports the only set of triplets currently playing for the same NCAA Division I women's basketball team--juniors Megan, Molly and Moriah Frazee. The trio plays a key role in the Lady Flames' success. Through three games, the Frazees are averaging 34.3 points and 20 rebounds per outing. A different Frazee has led the Lady Flames in scoring each game so far this season. Molly Frazee scored 17 points at UNC Greensboro, Megan Frazee totaled 16 markers at North Carolina A&T and Moriah Frazee had 14 points at Virginia Tech. 

Liberty's Iron Woman
Liberty senior shooting guard Courtney Watkins has yet to miss a game, through the first three-plus seasons of her Lady Flame career. Her consecutive games played streak currently sits at 98. Liberty's game against Houston on Nov. 24 would be Watkins' 100th-consecutive game played for the Lady Flames. Juniors Molly and Moriah Frazee have played in every game since they have been a part of the Lady Flames' roster, as well. Each of them has now appeared in 65-straight contests.