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Lady Flames to Play Home Opener on Friday
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The Liberty Lady Flames (5-1, 0-0 Big South) will finally get to play their home opener, after starting the season with six contests away from the Vines Center. Meanwhile, NCAA Division II Virginia Union (0-2, 0-0 CIAA) will be venturing away from Richmond for its lone road game until the calendar flips to 2008. They will be playing at Liberty for the fourth-straight season.
The Last Time Out
Liberty picked up its biggest win of the young season, coming back from an 11-point second-half deficit to pull out a 61-56 win at Xavier on Sunday. The victory, the Lady Flames' third in a row, enabled Liberty to win the National City Xavier Invitational and snap the Musketeers' 13-game home winning streak. Megan Frazee, tabbed tournament MVP, scored 21 of her game-high 28 points during the second half.
Scouting Virginia Union
The Virginia Union Panthers are coming off an 8-18 campaign, which saw them tie for fourth in the CIAA's Eastern Division. They were again selected to finish fourth in the division this season, and 6-1 senior forward Katchona Johnson was voted to the CIAA's preseason all-conference roster.
The Panthers have begun the year with two home games, and they have lost both contests, by an average of 17 points. Johnson is the squad's leading scorer thus far, averaging 13.5 ppg. Meanwhile, freshman forward Yuvonna Stevens is pulling in 7.0 rpg, including 11 in her collegiate debut, versus District of Columbia.
The Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his ninth season with the Lady Flames. He owns a 190-65 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.745) ranked 12th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the beginning of the season.
Bryan Underwood is starting his third year as the head coach at his alma mater, Virginia Union. He owns a career record of 17-31 with the Panthers.
Liberty Versus the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA)
Liberty is 3-6 all-time against teams currently belonging to the CIAA, with all three wins coming against Virginia Union. Liberty has also played Bowie State (0-1), St. Paul's (0-2) and Virginia State (0-3), all of which meetings took place prior to 1988.
Liberty vs. Virginia Union All-Time Series
Liberty leads series, 3-0
11/19/04 H W 83-56
11/18/05 H W 74-49
12/16/06 H W 66-49
Liberty vs. Virginia Union Series Details
Liberty's first two meetings with Virginia Union were season openers. The Lady Flames began their "Sweet 16" season of 2004-05 with an 83-56 home win over the Panthers. Liberty then tipped off its 2005-06 campaign with a 74-49 victory against Virginia Union. Megan Frazee tallied 17 points, 10 boards and five assists in her collegiate debut.
Last season, Liberty held off a game Virginia Union squad, 66-49. Megan Frazee notched 12 points and six assists. Sister Moriah Frazee chipped in with 11 points and seven caroms.
In-Season Tournament Update
Liberty went 3-0 at this past weekend's National City Xavier Invitational, hosted by Xavier in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Lady Flames won the title on the strength of a come-from-behind 61-56 triumph over Xavier on Sunday, marking only the second time the Musketeers have failed to win their home tournament. Megan Frazee was named MVP and Moriah Frazee made the all-tournament team.
The last time the Lady Flames had gone 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.
Liberty has won its last six home openers, two of which have come against Virginia Union. Under head coach Carey Green, the Lady Flames are 7-1 in home openers. Liberty's last five home-opening triumphs have each come by 19 points or more.
Last season, the Lady Flames routed Norfolk State, 91-53, in the home and season opener. Five Liberty players reached double figures, led by Megan Frazee's 19 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in her first game back after knee surgery. Toia Johnson had 15 points and connected on a quartet of three-pointers for the Spartans.
The Nineties are a Novelty
All 11 Lady Flames who saw action against McNeese State last Friday scored, helping Liberty tally a season-high for points in a 92-52 victory over the Cowgirls. The game marked just the sixth time the Lady Flames have reached the 90-point plateau during head coach Carey Green's nine seasons.
Three of the 90-point efforts came during the 2006-07 season, including a 97-point outburst versus Columbia Union on Nov. 16, 2006. The 97 points represents the largest single-game scoring output under Carey Green.
The last time Liberty reached triple digits came on Dec. 13, 1997, versus Cedarville. The Lady Flames claimed their eighth-straight win, 103-61, to begin their 28-1 campaign.
The Bench Bunch
Liberty's bench players, highlighted by Molly Frazee, Rachel Hammond and Rachel McLeod, have been a key to the Lady Flames' early-season success. The Lady Flames' reserves have outscored their opponent's counterparts in four of six games so far. Liberty is averaging 20 bench points per contest, 4.2 more than its opponents. Twice (Virginia Tech and Xavier), the Lady Flames limited their foe to just four bench points.
A Tale of Two Halves
In five of six games this season, Megan Frazee has scored more second-half points than she tallied in the first half. She is scoring nearly twice as many points during the final 20 minutes than she does prior to the intermission, 12.2-6.3.
Frazee's most recent example of increased second-half production came this past Sunday at Xavier. She helped the Lady Flames come back from 11 points down to win, notching 21 of her 28 markers after the break.
This phenomenon is not unprecedented for the junior from Xenia, Ohio, whose most memorable collegiate game so far featured a stellar second half. Frazee led Liberty to a 75-71 win at Virginia on Nov. 20, 2006, recording 31 of her 37 points and nine of her 15 boards after halftime at John Paul Jones Arena.
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 six games, the Frazees are averaging 38.3 points and 20.3 rebounds per outing, good for 54.6 percent of the Lady Flames' scoring output and 46.6 percent of the team's rebounds.
One of the Frazees has led Liberty in scoring each game this season. Molly Frazee paced the squad with 17 points in the season opener at UNC Greensboro (Nov. 13), Moriah Frazee tossed in a team-best 14 points at Virginia Tech (Nov. 19) and Megan Frazee has led the way in each of the other four contests.
Tracking a Pair of Milestones
Through 51 career games, Megan Frazee has tossed in 903 points, for an average of 17.7 points per contest. If she continues to score at her current rate, Frazee is in line to become Liberty's 11th all-time 1,000-point scorer during the Lady Flames' second game of the Lady Rebel Christmas Classic in Las Vegas, on Dec. 21. She is currently 12th on the school's all-time scoring list.
Frazee is also nearing 500 rebounds, as she has pulled down 462 boards thus far in her career, good for an average of 9.1 rpg. Frazee is on pace to collect her 500th board on Dec. 20, against Ball State in the opening game of the Lady Rebel Christmas Classic. She would become the 19th member of Liberty's 500-rebound club and the sixth Lady Flame ever to post 1,000 points and 500 caroms in her career.
Best in the Big South
Liberty currently leads all Big South teams in free throw percentage (.763), field goal percentage (.429), three-point field goal percentage defense (.259) and rebounding margin (+9.0).
Individually, Megan Frazee paces the conference in rebounding (10.2 rpg), offensive rebounds (4.17 rpg) and defensive rebounds (6.00 rpg). Courtney Watkins is tops among Big South players in both field goal percentage (.523) and three-point field goal percentage (.533).
Feasting at the Foul Line
Liberty led the Big South Conference in free throw percentage a season ago, connecting on 70.3 percent of its charity tosses. The Lady Flames are off to an even better start from the line through their first six games of the 2007-08 season. Liberty is shooting 76.3 percent at the free throw line, a mark superior to the school record of 71.7 percent, acheived in 1997-98.
Megan Frazee is leading the way, connecting on 88.9 percent of her free throws. She sank a career-best 18-consecutive charity tosses at one point earlier this season. Frazee was 9-for-10 on foul shots against Houston, this past Saturday, helping Liberty make 32 free throws as a team. The Lady Flames missed the school record for made free throws in a game by a single shot. Liberty drilled 33 foul shots against Radford on Feb. 24, 2001.
Liberty has been consistent from the line this season, drilling at least 72.2 percent of its attempts in each of the first six contests.