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Binghamton to Visit Vines Center on Saturday
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The Liberty Lady Flames (7-1, 0-0 Big South) seek to extend their winning streak to six games, when they host the Binghamton Bearcats (1-6, 0-0 America East), Saturday afternoon at the Vines Center. Liberty is off to its best start since 1997-98, while Binghamton aims for its first road win of the season.
The Last Time Out
Liberty dealt James Madison its first loss of the season, 79-66, Tuesday evening at the Vines Center. Megan Frazee's 12 points and five rebounds after intermission helped the Lady Flames expand a 37-35 halftime edge. All five Liberty starters reached double figures and the Lady Flames won the battle of the boards, 41-38, in a matchup of two of the nation's finest rebounding teams. The victory was Liberty's first-ever triumph over its in-state rival.
Three starters return to the Binghamton lineup, from a squad which made the America East Tournament semifinals a season ago. Highlighting the veterans are a pair of seniors, 6-1 guard Laura Sario and 6-2 center Laine Kurpniece. Sario was a second-team all-conference performer in 2006-07, while Kurpniece made the third team.
Sario, a native of Espoo, Finland, ranks second on this year's squad with 11.0 points and 2.9 assists per contest. Kurpniece is the Bearcats' leader in both points (12.3 ppg) and rebounds (6.0 rpg). The pair is among four foreign players on Binghamton's roster.
Binghamton, like Liberty, has played only two home games this season. The Bearcats won their most recent home tilt, 71-61 over La Salle on Dec. 1. On Tuesday, Binghamton dropped the first leg of a three-game road swing, by a 75-65 margin at Duquesne.
The Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his ninth season with the Lady Flames. He owns a 192-65 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.747) ranked 12th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the beginning of the season.
Rich Conover is in his fifth full season as Binghamton's head coach and owns a record of 64-74 with the Bearcats. The 2004 America East Coach of the Year, Conover is 134-132 in 10 total seasons as a collegiate head coach.
Liberty vs. Binghamton All-Time Series
Liberty leads series, 1-0
11/25/06 A W 62-45
Liberty led by a slim, 31-27 margin at halftime over Binghamton, Nov. 25, 2006 in the teams' first-ever meeting. The Lady Flames were able to improve to 5-0 on the season, though, after fashioning separate runs of 15-2 and 12-1 in the second half at the Events Center to pull away for a 62-45 decision.
Megan Frazee and Roli-Ann Nikagbatse headed Liberty's balanced scoring effort with 11 points each, while Frazee added a team-best six rebounds. The Lady Flames made 6-of-13 three-pointers and 12-of-14 free throws during the win.
Shea Kenny totaled a game-high 12 points and Laura Sario added 10 for the homestanding Bearcats. Laura Franceski pulled down a game-high seven rebounds off the bench.
Liberty Versus the America East Conference
Liberty is 11-17 versus the members of the America East Conference. Nearly all of the Lady Flames' meetings versus America East teams have come against UMBC, a former Big South member. Liberty is 9-16 versus the Retrievers. The Lady Flames have also faced Binghamton (1-0), Boston University (0-1) and New Hampshire (1-0). Liberty has yet to meet America East teams Albany, Hartford, Maine, Stony Brook and Vermont on the hardwood.
Double Figures x 5
All five Liberty starters scored in double figures during Tuesday evening's 79-66 win over previously unbeaten James Madison. Megan Frazee led the way with 20 points and was followed by Moriah Frazee (17 points), Courtney Watkins (13), Rebecca Lighftoot (11) and Allyson Fasnacht (10).
Fasnacht was a freshman starter the last time the Lady Flames accomplished the feat, in an 86-71 home victory against Radford, Jan. 29, 2005. That evening, Katie Feenstra tossed in 20 points, Kristal Tharp had 19, Daina Staugaitine posted 15, Fasnacht notched 11 and Rima Margeviciute tallied 10.
Tracking a Pair of Milestones
Through 53 career games, Megan Frazee has tossed in 934 points, for an average of 17.6 points per contest. If she continues at her current scoring 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 11th on the school's all-time scoring list.
Frazee is also nearing 500 rebounds. She has pulled down 478 boards in her career, good for an average of 9.0 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 to post 1,000 points and 500 caroms in her career.
The Container is Half Full
Liberty has shot the ball well in its first two home games of the season, starting with a team and Vines Center-record 64.6 percent field goal efficiency on Nov. 30 against Virginia Union. The Lady Flames then canned 52.8 percent of their field goal attempts on Tuesday versus James Madison.
Liberty has recorded consecutive games of shooting 50 percent or higher for the first time since home wins over American and Longwood, on Jan. 2 and 5, 2007. The last time the Lady Flames made over half their field goals in three or more games in succession was a four-game run of stellar shooting, spanning Jan. 24 and Feb. 9, 2005.
Liberty has won all three games this season in which it has shot 50 percent or better and is 43-0 in such contests under head coach Carey Green.
Junior Megan Frazee has scored in double figures in each of her last 20 games, dating back to the 2006-07 season. It is the longest such streak of her career and the longest by a Liberty player since Katie Feenstra scored 10 or more points in the first 26 games of the 2003-04 campaign.
Frazee has only scored nine or fewer points on four occasions at Liberty, and the Ohioan has never done so in consecutive outings.
Fastest to Seven Wins
Liberty has reached the seven-win mark the earliest on the calendar in program history, after the Lady Flames improved to 7-1 with Tuesday's 79-66 triumph over James Madison. The earliest a Carey Green-coached Liberty team had ever picked up its seventh win, prior to this season, was Jan. 2, which the Lady Flames had done three times (1999-2000, 2002-03 and 2006-07).
The 1997-98 Liberty squad recorded win No. 7 on Dec. 8, which stood as the Lady Flames' earliest seventh victory before this season. The 1997-98 Lady Flames, who went undefeated during the regular season, posted their eighth win on Dec. 13, also a program standard.