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Lady Rebel Christmas Classic Next for Liberty
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Liberty- Ball State Live Stats (Courtesy of UNLVRebels.com)
Liberty-UNLV Live Stats (Courtesy of UNLVRebels.com)
Game Day Central
The Liberty Lady Flames (9-1, 0-0 Big South) will attempt to win their second tournament this season, when they travel to Thursday and Friday's Lady Rebel Christmas Classic, hosted by UNLV in Las Vegas, Nev. Liberty will square off with Mid-American Conference foe Ball State (3-7, 0-0 MAC) in Thursday's opening round. The Lady Flames will then play for either first or third place Friday, against either Austin Peay (4-5, 1-1 Ohio Valley) or host UNLV (3-6, 0-0 Mountain West).
The Last Time Out
The Lady Flames utilized a 14-0 run during the early stages of the second half to distance themselves from a scrappy Glenville State outfit. Liberty went on to claim its seventh-straight victory, 66-54 over the Pioneers, completing a 4-0 homestand. Megan Frazee paced all players with 17 points, while sister Moriah Frazee added 12 points and a game-high eight boards for the Lady Flames.
Scouting Ball State
Ball State, hailing from Muncie, Ind., went 24-7 a season ago, matching a school record for victories and claiming the Mid-American Conference (MAC) West Division title. The runners-up in the MAC Tournament, the Cardinals played in the WNIT Tournament for the third time in head coach Tracy Roller's six years.
Four starters return from last season's squad, headed by 5-10 senior forward Julie DeMuth, a first-team All-MAC honoree a year ago. As a result, the Cardinals were picked as the favorite to win the MAC Tournament.
However, Ball State has struggled though the early stages of the 2007-08 season. The Cardinals have dropped five-consecutive games to fall to 3-7. DeMuth, one of three Ball State players averaging double figures in scoring, paces the squad in points (12.8 ppg) and rebounds (7.0 rpg).
Scouting Austin Peay
The Austin Peay Lady Govs, from Clarksville, Tenn., represented the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) at the NCAA Tournament four-straight times, between 2001 and 2004. However, Austin Peay has won 15 or fewer games in each of the past three seasons, including a 10-20 campaign a season ago.
Two starters are back from the 2006-07 Lady Govs team, but Austin Peay is currently being led in scoring by a pair of freshman guards. Ashley Herring, a 5-9 guard/forward, is averaging 12.9 ppg and 6.4 rpg, leading Austin Peay in both categories. Alex Bivens, a 5-8 guard, is next with 11.1 ppg and has made 21 three-pointers. The duo has combined for three OVC Freshman of the Week honors already, two by Herring and one by Bivens.
The Lady Govs had won four of five games, before dropping back-to-back contests against Eastern Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State to slip to 4-5.
Last season, the host UNLV Lady Rebels suffered their first losing season (14-15) in head coach Regina Miller's nine years at the helm of the program. The Lady Rebels had qualified for postseason play six-straight seasons prior to the 2006-07 campaign.
UNLV is looking to rebound this season behind four returning starters, including 6-1 senior guard/forward Sequoia Holmes, the reigning Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Holmes posted 14.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 2.6 spg as a junior.
The Lady Rebels are 3-6 to open the 2007-08 season, including an improbable 62-61 triumph over No. 16 George Washington on Nov. 30. UNLV erased a 25-point deficit to stun the Colonials. Holmes is averaging 22.3 ppg, which is tied for fifth in the nation.
The Coaching Matchups
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his ninth season with the Lady Flames. He owns a 194-65 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.749) ranked 12th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the beginning of the season.
Tracy Roller owns a career record of 118-73 in her seventh season at Ball State. Already the winningest coach in program history, Roller has guided the Cardinals to three 20-win seasons and three trips to the WNIT Tournament. She will miss the Lady Rebel Christmas Classic, though, due to illness. Associate head coach Lisa McDonald, in her seventh year with the Cardinals, will take the reins in Roller's absence.
Carrie Daniels is 14-25 in her second year as head coach at her alma mater, Austin Peay. She was an assistant coach at Western Kentucky for seven seasons prior to returning to the Lady Govs.
Regina Miller has tallied a 170-109 mark in 10 seasons as UNLV's head coach, a run which includes a 26-win season in 2003-04 and a NCAA Tournament appearance in 2001-02. Her overall record stands at 230-209 in 16 seasons.
Liberty has never faced either Austin Peay or Ball State on the basketball hardwood. However, the Lady Flames have squared off with UNLV once, during Carey Green's first season as head coach, 1999-2000.
Liberty defeated the Lady Rebels, 75-71, in the opening game of the Nassau Sun Splash Shootout in the Bahamas, on Dec. 20, 1999. UNLV's all-time leading scorer, Linda Frohlich, recorded 26 points and helped her team take a four-point halftime lead. Sharon Wilkerson, one of four Liberty players in double figures with 17 points, then helped the Lady Flames come from behind during the final 20 minutes.
Liberty Versus the Mid-American Conference
Thursday's game versus Ball State will be just the fourth game the Lady Flames have ever played against one of the 12 current members of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and only the second under Carey Green's guidance. Liberty owns a 2-1 record versus MAC opposition.
The Lady Flames are 1-0 versus Akron, 1-0 versus Buffalo and 0-1 versus Miami (Ohio). Liberty's most recent game against a MAC opponent was a 59-40 triumph over Buffalo at the Michigan State Spartan Chevrolet Classic, on Nov. 17, 2001.
Liberty has yet to face MAC squads Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo and Western Michigan in women's basketball.
Liberty Versus the Ohio Valley Conference
Liberty is 2-2 all-time versus the Ohio Valley Conference's (OVC) 11 member institutions. The Lady Flames have met four different OVC squads one time apiece. They defeated Samford and Tennessee State and fell to Morehead State and Tennessee-Martin.
The Lady Flames defeated Tennessee State by a 74-38 margin on Dec. 3, 2004, in the opening round of the Kansas State Commerce Bank Wildcat Tournament, marking Carey Green's only meeting with an OVC foe. Liberty senior Egle Smigelskaite helped her team reach the tournament championship game with five points and eight caroms against the Tigers.
Liberty has never been matched up against the OVC's Austin Peay, Eastern Illinois, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Murray State, Southeast Missouri State and Tennessee Tech.
Liberty Versus the Mountain West Conference
Liberty's 1999 victory over UNLV is the only game the Lady Flames have ever played against the current nine-team membership of the Mountain West Conference. The conference also includes Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, Utah and Wyoming.
In-Season Tournament Notes
After going 0-4 during a pair of in-season tournaments during the 2006-07 campaign, Liberty found success at the National City Xavier Invitational, Nov. 23-25 at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Lady Flames won all three of their games over the weekend, including a come-from-behind, 61-56 triumph over the host Musketeers in the title tilt, Nov. 25. Liberty captured the tournament championship trophy, becoming only the second visiting team ever to do so. Megan Frazee was tabbed tournament MVP and Moriah Frazee earned a spot on the all-tournament team.
Liberty's most recent in-season tournament title, prior to its win at Xavier earlier this season, came at the Kansas State Commerce Bank Wildcat Tournament, Dec. 3-4, 2004. The Lady Flames won both of their games, including a victory over No. 17 Kansas State in the championship contest, to earn the championship.
The Lady Flames have gone 3-0 in Friday games so far this season and have exploded for 92 and 100 points in their last two Friday tilts. Unfortunately, Liberty only has two Friday contests left on the docket, the championship/consolation game at the Lady Rebel Christmas Classic on Dec. 21 and the season-ending home game against Radford on March 7.
Liberty in the NCAA Rankings
Liberty is ranked in the top 25 nationally in eight statistical categories. The Lady Flames are fifth in field goal percentage defense (.325), tied for 10th in win-loss percentage (.900), 12th in scoring margin (+20.3), 14th in field goal percentage (.477), 15th in free throw percentage (.774), 18th in rebounding margin (+9.9), 24th in scoring (74.2 ppg) and 24th in scoring defense (53.9 ppg).
Additionally, junior Megan Frazee sits 17th in the nation in free throw percentage (.907).
Receiving Some Recognition
After handing James Madison its first loss of the season and defeating Binghamton to push its winning streak to six games, Liberty received its first Top 25 vote of the season. The Lady Flames earned a single vote in the Dec. 10 AP Top 25 Poll and increased the total to four votes in the Dec. 17 AP Top 25 Poll.
Liberty received one vote in the Dec. 18 ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, marking the first vote it has garnered in the poll this season.
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. Through eight games, the Frazees are averaging 37.6 points and 18.1 rebounds per outing, good for 50.7 percent of the Lady Flames' scoring output and 42.3 percent of the team's boards.
One of the Frazees has led Liberty in scoring in each game this season. Molly Frazee paced the squad once, Moriah Frazee has done so three times and Megan Frazee has led the way in the other six contests.
Megan, Molly and Moriah Frazee started together for the first time this season, Dec. 8 versus Binghamton, helping the Lady Flames defeat the Bearcats. The triplets were a part of the same starting lineup on eight occasions during the 2006-07 season.
Collectively, the Frazee triplets are nearing the 2,000-point plateau for their career. Megan Frazee has posted 961 points, Moriah Frazee has added 612 markers and Molly Frazee has chipped in with 382, for a total of 1,955 career points.
Tracking a Pair of Milestones
Through 55 career games, Megan Frazee has tossed in 961 points, for an average of 17.5 points per game. If she continues at her current scoring rate, Frazee is in line to become Liberty's 11th all-time 1,000-point scorer at North Carolina, on Dec. 30. Frazee would be the third-fastest Lady Flame to reach 1,000 points. Elena Kisseleva took 47 games to score her 1,000th point and Brenda Gunsallus got there in game No. 50.
Frazee is also nearing 500 rebounds. She has pulled down 484 boards in her career, good for an average of 8.8 rpg. Frazee is on pace to collect her 500th board on Dec. 21, during either the championship or consolation 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.
Cleaning the Glass
The Lady Flames have outrebounded their opponents in seven-straight games and have won each of the last seven contests. For the season, Liberty has won the rebounding battle eight of 10 times and is 8-0 when it does so.
Long Distance Connection
The Lady Flames have made at least one three-pointer in 81-straight games, a streak which began on Feb. 26, 2005. This is Liberty's second-longest streak in program history. The Lady Flames went 82-consecutive games with a three-pointer between Jan. 24, 1998 and Dec. 20, 2000.
Lady Flames On a Hot Streak
Liberty has won seven games in a row, which ties the Lady Flames for the ninth-longest current winning streak in the nation. The streak is Liberty's lengthiest since a 14-game winning skein from Jan. 28 to March 11, 2006.
Fastest to Nine Wins
Liberty has reached the nine-win mark the earliest on the calendar in program history, tying the 1997-98 squad, after the Lady Flames improved to 9-1 with a 66-54 triumph over Glenville State on Dec. 15. The 1997-98 Lady Flames, who went undefeated during the regular season, also posted their ninth win on Dec. 15, a victory over South Carolina State.
If the Lady Flames can win one game at this week's Lady Rebel Christmas Classic, they will become only the second Liberty squad to win 10 games before the end of December, and the earliest to accomplish the feat. The 1997-98 team finished December with a 10-0 ledger, after knocking off College of Charleston on Dec. 30.