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Liberty, Radford to Battle for First Place
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Game Day Central
The Big South Conference's first and second-place teams will square off at the Dedmon Center Wednesday at 7 p.m., when Liberty (19-2, 4-0 Big South) travels to Radford (16-7, 3-1 Big South). The Lady Flames bring an eight-game winning streak into the contest, while the Highlanders own a 23-22 advantage in the teams' all-time head-to-head series.
The Last Time Out
Liberty led Winthrop by only seven points, 34-27, Saturday evening at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames emerged from the locker room with a 27-7 run, though, putting them well on their way to a 76-51 triumph over the Eagles. Liberty, which has now defeated Winthrop 25-consecutive times, came up with 13 steals and scored 31 points off turnovers. Moriah Frazee did not miss a shot all night, going 5-for-5 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the foul line, tallying 16 points and eight boards.
Lady Flames On The Air
All Lady Flames basketball games can be heard LIVE on WWMC 90.9 FM "The Light." Jamie Hall, who is celebrating his 14th year of broadcasting Lady Flames basketball, will once again be handling the courtside play-by-play duties for most road games. Due to Hall's television responsibilities, Jerod Brooks will serve as the primary commentator for home games.
The Radford Highlanders went 20-11 and reached the title game of the Big South Championship last season. Four of their five starters are back, including preseason All-Big South selections, Kelli Darden and Corrie Fertitta. Accordingly, Radford was selected as the preseason favorite to capture the Big South championship trophy.
Radford has endured an up-and-down season. The Highlanders have a road win at Wake Forest on their resume, but also lost to Charleston Southern in conference play. Radford has played well at home, going 9-1 at the Dedmon Center. The Highlanders have also gotten the job done defensively, ranking No. 6 nationally in blocks (6.0 bpg) and No. 8 in steals (13.1 spg).
Darden, a 6-3 center, leads the team in scoring (12.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg) and is now the Big South's leading career shot-blocker with 260 rejections. She is listed No. 11 in the nation with 2.8 blocks per game. All five Radford starters are averaging double figures in the scoring column. Johnette Walker, a 5-8 junior guard, sits No. 20 in the nation with 3.2 steals per outing.
The Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his ninth season with the Lady Flames. He owns a 204-66 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.756) ranked 12th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the beginning of the season. Green is 15-3 versus the Highlanders in his career.
Jeri Porter, a 1991 Liberty alumnus, is 86-80 in her sixth season at Radford. She is 150-123 in 10 total seasons as a collegiate head coach, after starting out with four campaigns at North Alabama. Porter is 2-10 coaching against her alma mater, for whom she scored 717 points in two years, ranking 26th on the Lady Flames' all-time scoring list.
Liberty-Radford Series Notes
Radford claimed a 23-22 edge in the all-time head-to-head series by taking two of three games from the Lady Flames a season ago. The Highlanders are the only Big South team with a winning record against the Lady Flames. Liberty had won 20 of its last 21 contests against Radford, prior to last season.
Both teams won comfortably on their home floors in 2006-07, as Liberty prevailed by a 79-66 count on Jan. 27 at the Vines Center and Radford returned the favor, 77-54, on March 3 at the Dedmon Center. Megan Frazee scored 27 points in each of the two regular-season meetings.
The rubber match took place on March 9, during the semifinals of the Big South Championship, at UNC Asheville's Justice Center. Kelli Darden banked in the game-winning shot as the buzzer sounded, giving Radford a dramatic 57-55 win.
Trying for 20
The Lady Flames enter tonight's contest with a 19-2 overall record, leaving them just one win shy of the 20-win plateau. Liberty has posted nine 20-win seasons, all of which have come during the last 11 years. Head coach Carey Green has guided the Lady Flames to six seasons of 20 wins or more.
Liberty's single-season record for wins is 28, established in 1997-98. That year, the Lady Flames finished 28-1, with their lone setback coming to Tennessee.
Big South Recognition
Liberty became the first conference team to garner five Big South Player of the Week honors this season, when Moriah Frazee captured this week's distinction. She also won player of the week recognition on Dec. 10. Her sister Megan Frazee is the only three-time winner of the award. Frazee earned the honor on Nov. 26, Jan. 7 and Jan. 21, and has now won player of the week laurels nine times during her Lady Flames career.
Fabulous in February
Liberty has won 80 of its last 84 games played during the month of February, dating back to the 1997 Big South Championship. The only teams to defeat the Lady Flames during February since then are High Point (three times) and UNC Asheville (one time).
Liberty owns a 161-120 all-time mark during the year's second month, including a 61-4 record under Carey Green's direction. The Lady Flames, 6-2 in February a year ago, have seven February contests on the schedule in 2007-08. They have opened the month with a 1-0 record.
Competing with the Commonwealth
Liberty is slated to play seven games against teams from the Commonwealth of Virginia during the 2007-08 season. The Lady Flames are 4-1 versus in-state foes so far, defeating Virginia Union (Nov. 30), James Madison (Dec. 4), Richmond (Jan. 5) and George Mason (Jan. 15) and losing at Virginia Tech (Nov. 19).
The Lady Flames are scheduled to play Radford twice (Feb. 6 and March 7). A year ago, the Lady Flames were victorious in six of 10 games against Commonwealth opposition.
Nationally Ranked in Rebounding
Liberty has outrebounded seven-consecutive opponents and is now listed No. 10 nationally in rebounding margin (+10.2). The Lady Flames have ranked among the nation's top 10 squads in rebounding margin four-straight years.
Head coach Carey Green's team led the nation in rebounding margin in both 2003-04 and 2004-05 and was listed third in 2005-06. Last season, Liberty ended the year listed fifth in rebounding margin.
Coach Carey Green Versus The Big South
Liberty is 127-12 (.914) against Big South opponents under Carey Green's direction since he took the helm of the program prior to the 1999-2000 campaign. The Lady Flames are 105-11 in regular season conference games and 22-1 in the Big South Championship.
The Lady Flames have not lost to current Big South members Coastal Carolina (20-0), Winthrop (20-0) and Charleston Southern (19-0) with Green as head coach.
Out of the Gate Quickly
Liberty is 4-0 to open conference play for the seventh time in 17 seasons as a Big South member. The Lady Flames went on to win the Big South title on each of the previous six occasions.
The Lady Flames have been dominant in their first four conference match-ups, outscoring opponents by an average margin of 76.2-51.2. Liberty is winning the battle of the boards, 43.0 to 28.5. The Lady Flames are additionally tallying 11.5 steals per contest.
At Home on the Road
Liberty has only played nine home games out of its first 21 contests of the season. However, the Lady Flames have not minded life on the road, as evidenced by their 7-2 road ledger. Liberty opened the year with consecutive road triumphs and later claimed tournament championships with victories at Xavier (Nov. 25) and UNLV (Dec. 21).
Liberty is 76-35 in road games under Green's guidance, winning at a .685 rate. The Lady Flames have posted six-straight winning seasons on the road.
The Lady Flames are currently on an eight-game winning streak, as they have not dropped a decision since an 88-67 setback at North Carolina on Dec. 30. Through the games of Feb. 3, Liberty is tied with Gonzaga for the 13th-longest active streak in the nation. No. 1 Connecticut has won a nation-high 21-straight games to open the season. The Lady Flames are also in the midst of the 10th-longest streak in program history.
Interestingly, three Liberty opponents are also on extended winning streaks enterign the week. Houston and North Carolina A&T have both won seven-consecutive games, while Xavier has taken six-straight decisions.
Liberty previously won nine-straight contests this year, spanning Nov. 23-Dec. 21. The nine-game run was the ninth-longest winning streak in Liberty history. Below are the Lady Flames' 10 longest winning skeins.
1) 28 games (Nov. 21, 1997 - Feb. 28, 1998)
2) 22 games (Dec. 21, 2002 - March 9, 2003)
3) 19 games (Jan. 6, 2004 - March 13, 2004)
4) 14 games (Jan. 28, 2006 - March 11, 2006)
5) 13 games (Jan. 24, 2002 - March 2, 2002)
T6) 12 games (Jan. 23,1999 - Feb. 27, 1999)
T6) 12 games (Jan. 15, 2005 - Feb. 21, 2005)
8) 11 games (Feb. 3, 2000 - March 4, 2000)
9) 9 games (Nov. 23, 2007 - Dec. 21, 2007)
10) 8 games (Jan. 5, 2008 - Feb. 2, 2008)
Lady Flames in Elite Company
Liberty is both shooting the ball well from the field and limiting its opponents' field goal percentage this season. The Lady Flames rank 12th nationally in field goal percentage (.468) and are fourth in field goal percentage defense (.342).
No. 1 Connecticut and No. 20 Utah are the only other teams in the nation to rank in the top 15 of both statistical categories.