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Lady Flames Aim for Season Sweep of Winthrop
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Game Day Central
The Liberty Lady Flames (24-2, 9-0 Big South) travel to Winthrop for a Wednesday night contest against the Eagles (18-9, 6-3 Big South), currently tied for second place in the Big South. Liberty, which has won 13 games in a row overall and 25-straight tilts against Winthrop, would clinch the outright Big South title with a win. Meanwhile, the Eagles, winners of three-consecutive contests, need one more win to tie the program record for victories.
The Last Time Out
Liberty raced out to a 17-2 lead to start Saturday night's game at High Point. However, the Panthers came back to tie the score during the second half. Megan Frazee led all players in both points (26) and rebounds (14) and Courtney Watkins sank four second-half three-pointers. Their efforts helped the Lady Flames hold off High Point, 78-68, and clinch at least a tie for the Big South regular-season title.
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 Winthrop Eagles have been the surprise team of the Big South Conference this year. Coming off a 6-26 campaign and picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll, the Eagles are currently 18-9 and tied for second in the conference at 6-3. Interestingly, Winthrop's roster lacks a senior for the second year in a row. The Eagles do boast seven juniors, however.
Winthrop enters Wednesday's game on a three-game winning streak. The Eagles, 9-3 at the Winthrop Coliseum, are limiting opponents to a .338 field goal percentage and rank No. 3 in the nation in the category. Liberty is the only team in Winthrop's last 13 games to eclipse the 70-point plateau.
Ashley Fann, a 6-0 junior forward, ranks third in the Big South with 13.9 ppg and is seventh with 6.4 rpg. Classmate Tiffany Rodd, a 6-0 guard, has won a pair of Big South Player of the Week awards, including the Feb. 18 honor. Rodd has made 68 three-pointers this season and ranks second in the conference with a .412 three-point field goal percentage.
The Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his ninth season with the Lady Flames. He owns a 209-66 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.760) ranked 12th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the beginning of the season. Green is 20-0 against the Eagles in his career.
Bud Childers owns a record of 40-76 in his fourth season at Winthrop. He is 427-315 in 26 total seasons as a collegiate head coach, including time at Cumberland College, Montevallo, Murray State, Louisville and James Madison. Childers is 1-9 against Liberty, with his one win coming during 1996-97, when he was at Louisville.
Liberty-Winthrop Series Notes
Wednesday's contest will be the 41st meeting between Liberty and Winthrop. The Lady Flames are 34-6 in the series and have won 25-straight matchups against the Eagles. Liberty is 13-5 all-time versus Winthrop at the Winthrop Coliseum.
Liberty's defense sparked the Lady Flames to a 76-51 triumph at the Vines Center in the teams' first meeting of the season, on Feb. 2. Liberty came up with 13 steals and scored 31 points off turnovers on the evening. Moriah Frazee paced three Lady Flames in double figures with 16 points and eight rebounds, going 5-for-5 from the floor.
Winthrop's last win against the Lady Flames was a 71-66 home decision in the 1996-97 regular-season finale, on Feb. 22, 1997. Jennifer Churchill paced the Eagles with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while freshman Elena Kisseleva sparked Liberty with 23 markers. Liberty won its first of 10 Big South Championships a week later.
Big South Recognition
Liberty has collected seven out of 15 Big South Player of the Week awards this season. Megan Frazee has won the award five times this season (Nov. 26, Jan. 7, Jan. 21, Feb. 11 and Feb. 25) and 11 times in her career. She is one of three Big South players (also Liberty alumni Katie Feenstra and Elena Kisseleva) to win at least 10 Big South Player of the Week honors in her career.
Moriah Frazee captured the distinction on Dec. 10 and Feb. 4, the first two recognitions of her time at Liberty.
Frazee Among Nation's Elite
Megan Frazee is averaging 18.1 ppg and 9.0 rpg on the season, and is one of only eight players in the nation currently posting at least 18.0 ppg and 9.0 rpg.
The other players on the short list include DeWanna Bonner of Auburn, Natalie Doma of Idaho State, Traci Edwards of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Crystal Kelly of Western Kentucky, Courtney Paris of Oklahoma, Jenna Smith of Illinois and Tamera Young of James Madison.
Fabulous in February
Liberty has won 85 of its last 89 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 166-120 all-time mark during the year's second month, including a 66-4 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 6-0 record.
Liberty in the NCAA Rankings
Liberty is ranked in the top 15 nationally in six statistical categories in the most recent report, through the games of Feb. 24. The Lady Flames stand second in field goal percentage defense (.337), fifth in scoring margin (+19.2), fifth in rebounding margin (+11.0), sixth in won-lost percentage (.923), ninth in field goal percentage (.471) and 11th in scoring defense (54.0 ppg).
Additionally, junior Megan Frazee sits 13th in the nation in free throw percentage (.877).
Coach Carey Green Versus The Big South
Liberty is 132-12 (.917) 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 110-11 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 (21-0), Charleston Southern (20-0) and Winthrop (20-0) with Green as head coach.
Out of the Gate Quickly
Liberty is 9-0 to open conference play for the fifth time in 17 seasons as a Big South member and for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign. The Lady Flames went on to win the Big South title on each of the previous four occasions. Three times (1997-98, 2002-03 and 2003-04), Liberty was able to go undefeated in Big South action.
The Lady Flames have been dominant in their first nine conference match-ups, outscoring opponents by an average margin of 76.7-51.0. Liberty is winning the battle of the boards, 44.7 to 27.9. The Lady Flames are additionally tallying 10.1 steals per contest.
Liberty has won each of its nine conference games by 10 points or more, with the closest contest coming on Feb. 23 at High Point (78-68 victory). The Lady Flames have never completed their entire conference schedule by winning every game by double digits.
Megan Frazee is flourishing in conference action, averaging 20.0 ppg and 9.8 rpg. She has notched three double-doubles versus Big South foes.
Receiving Some Recognition
Liberty received its first Top 25 vote of the season in the Dec. 10 AP Top 25 poll. The Lady Flames earned a season-high 32 votes in this week's poll, released Feb. 25. Liberty garnered the 29th-most votes in the poll.
In the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, Liberty garnered its first vote on Dec. 18 and received a season-best 27 votes in this week's poll, announced Feb. 19. The Lady Flames received the 29th-most votes in the most recent poll.
At Home on the Road
The Lady Flames have not minded life away from Lynchburg this season, as evidenced by their 9-2 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 78-35 in road games under Green's guidance, winning at a .690 rate. The Lady Flames have posted seven-straight winning seasons on the road.
Liberty's Iron Woman
Liberty senior shooting guard Courtney Watkins has yet to miss a contest, in the first three-plus seasons of her Lady Flame career. Her consecutive games played streak currently sits at 121. Liberty's contest against Houston on Nov. 24 was Watkins' 100th-consecutive game played for the Lady Flames. If she can stay healthy, she is on track to break 2007 graduate Michelle Parker's Liberty and Big South records for career games played during the Lady Flames' second contest at the Big South Women's Basketball Championship. Parker finished with 125 career games played.
Watkins sits in third place on Liberty's career games played list. Allyson Fasnacht has made 118 career appearances, and is tied with Rachel Young for fifth on Liberty's all-time list.
Juniors Molly and Moriah Frazee have also played in every game since they have been a part of the Liberty roster. Each of them has appeared in 88-straight contests.
The Lady Flames are currently on a 13-game winning streak, as they have not dropped a decision since an 88-67 setback at North Carolina on Dec. 30.
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)
5T) 13 games (Jan. 5, 2008 - Feb. 23, 2008)
5T) 13 games (Jan. 24, 2002 - March 2, 2002)
7T) 12 games (Jan. 15, 2005 - Feb. 21, 2005)
7T) 12 games (Jan. 23, 1999 - Feb. 27, 1999)
9) 11 games (Feb. 3, 2000 - March 4, 2000)
10) 9 games (Nov. 23, 2007 - Dec. 21, 2007)
Most Wins in Program History
Liberty has recorded 10 20-win seasons, all of which have come in the last 12 years. The 1997-98 Lady Flames set a school record with 28 wins, finishing the campaign at 28-1. This year's team is sixth on the program's single-season wins list.
Below are the winningest seasons in program history.
1) 28-1 (1997-98)
2T) 26-7 (2004-05)
2T) 26-4 (2002-03)
4T) 25-6 (2005-06)
4T) 25-7 (2003-04)
6) 24-2 (2007-08)
7T) 23-8 (2001-02)
7T) 23-8 (1999-2000)
9) 22-8 (1996-97)
10) 21-8 (1998-99)