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Lady Flames Hope to Bounce Back at UNCA
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Game Day Central
The Liberty Lady Flames (24-3, 9-1 Big South) head to UNC Asheville (11-16, 2-8 Big South) for the final contest of a three-game road swing. Liberty will look to rebound from its Wednesday loss at Winthrop with a win, which would clinch the outright Big South regular-season title. The Bulldogs, down to seven healthy players, have lost seven of their last eight outings. Liberty won the teams' first meeting of the season, 69-55, Feb. 9 at the Vines Center.
The Last Time Out
Liberty never led on Wednesday at Winthrop until Megan Frazee's 19-foot jumper put the Lady Flames on top, 52-51, with 1:38 remaining. However, the Eagles scored the game's final five points to record a 56-52 victory. The loss snapped Liberty's 13-game winning streak and was Winthrop's first decision over the Lady Flames since February 1997. Megan Frazee totaled 17 points and 12 rebounds in defeat.
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.
Scouting UNC Asheville
UNC Asheville has been hit hard by injuries during the 2007-08 season, one year after winning the first Big South Championship in program history. Three Bulldogs have suffered season-ending knee injuries, leaving the team with seven healthy players to close out the year.
Understandably, the Bulldogs have struggled in recent weeks, losing seven of their last eight games. The lone win during the span was an impressive one, a 79-63 triumph at High Point on Feb. 20. In UNC Asheville's last outing, Radford handed the Bulldogs a 70-58 defeat at the Justice Center, Tuesday evening. Freshman Chioma Okoli came off the bench to score 18 points during the setback.
Ashton Barton, a 5-8 senior guard, leads the team and ranks fifth in the conference with 13.2 ppg. Stacy Shepard, a 6-3 center who is UNC Asheville's only other senior, is the Big South leader with 10.3 rpg.
The Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his ninth season with the Lady Flames. He owns a 209-67 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.757) ranked 12th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the beginning of the season. Green is 20-1 versus UNC Asheville during his coaching career.
Betsy Blose is 87-87 at UNC Asheville in six seasons as head coach. For her career, the 2004 Big South Coach of the Year is 201-164. Blose started out as Shepherd's head women's basketball coach for seven seasons. She picked up career win No. 200 on Jan. 26, against Coastal Carolina. Blose owns a 1-12 record against Liberty.
Liberty-UNC Asheville Series Notes
Liberty is 35-7 all-time against UNC Asheville, and had won 24-straight match-ups with the Bulldogs before UNCA took a 54-51 decision at the Vines Center on Feb. 24, 2007. The game was the Bulldogs' first win at Liberty since Feb. 12, 1990. The Lady Flames have won their last 10 games against UNCA at the Justice Center.
The Lady Flames defeated UNC Asheville, 69-55, on Feb. 9 at the Vines Center. Liberty, which never trailed the contest, was led by Megan Frazee's 19 points and eight boards. Moriah Frazee chipped in with 18 points and eight rebounds. Chioma Okoli paced the visitors with 14 points and sank four three-pointers.
Megan Frazee has excelled in her first three career meetings with UNC Asheville, averaging 18.3 ppg and 9.7 rpg. Allyson Fasnacht has also enjoyed some success against the Bulldogs in her career. One of her two career-best 19-point efforts came during a home win over UNC Asheville on Feb. 7, 2006.
Frazee Among Nation's Elite
Megan Frazee is averaging 18.1 ppg and 9.1 rpg on the season, and is one of only eight players in the nation posting at least 18.0 ppg and 9.0 rpg, through Feb. 24.
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.
Marvelous in March
Liberty has gone 27-9 during the month of March under Carey Green, with seven of the setbacks coming in the NCAA Tournament. The Lady Flames are 5-1 in the regular season, 20-1 in the Big South Championship and 2-7 in the "Big Dance" during the year's third month, under his direction. Last season, Liberty was 1-2 in March.
The Lady Flames are 35-34 all-time in March contests and did not pick up their first victory in the month until the program's 13th season. Liberty's initial March triumph was an 82-69 win over Randolph-Macon on March 3, 1988.
Nationally Ranked in Rebounding
Liberty has outrebounded 13-consecutive opponents and is now listed No. 5 nationally in rebounding margin (+11.0). 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.
Bouncing Back with a Win
Liberty has never lost back-to-back Big South games under Carey Green's direction. In fact, the last time the Lady Flames lost consecutive conference contests was Feb. 20 and 22, 2007, to UNC Greensboro and Winthrop. One week later, Liberty claimed the first of 10-consecutive Big South Championships.
The Lady Flames need a victory against UNC Asheville on Saturday to continue the trend. Liberty is coming off a 56-52 loss at Winthrop on Wednesday.
Strong in the Second Half
Megan Frazee enjoyed a stellar second half at Winthrop on Wednesday, nearly leading Liberty to a come-from-behind victory. Frazee notched 15 points and 12 rebounds after halftime, the latest in a series of exceptional second-half performances by the junior this season.
Frazee totaled 21 points and five rebounds during the second half at Xavier on Nov. 25, had 20 points and 12 boards after the break at Radford on Feb. 6 and contributed 16 points and seven caroms during the final 20 minutes at High Point on Feb. 23.
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 30 votes in this week's poll, announced Feb. 26. The Lady Flames received the 27th-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 9-3 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 78-36 in road games under Green's guidance, winning at a .684 rate. The Lady Flames have posted seven-straight winning seasons on the road.
The Lady Flames saw their 13-game winning streak halted Wednesday night at Winthrop. The streak equaled the fifth-longest in program history. Earlier this season, Liberty won nine-straight games, which marks the school's 10th-longest streak. The 1997-98 Lady Flames own the program record, winning 28-consecutive games to start the season.
Juniors Megan Frazee and Moriah Frazee both earned places on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first-team roster, making Liberty one of five teams in the nation with multiple first-team selections. For Megan Frazee, it was the second-straight year she has been so honored.
Senior Allyson Fasnacht, a first-team selection a year ago, made the second team this season.
Megan Frazee went on to become a second-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American. She was one of only two juniors (Tennessee's Candace Parker) included on either the first or second-team rosters.
Frazee, a kinesiology major carrying a 3.91 cumulative GPA, is the second Academic All-American in program history. Kristal Tharp was also a second-team honoree, during her senior year in 2005.
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) 24-3 (2007-08)
7T) 23-8 (2001-02)
7T) 23-8 (1999-2000)
9) 22-8 (1996-97)
10) 21-8 (1998-99)
Spectacular on Saturday
Liberty will attempt to continue its string of successful Saturday results, this weekend at UNC Asheville. The Lady Flames are 10-0 this season when playing on Saturday. Liberty is winning its Saturday games by an average score of 72.6-50.0.
The Lady Flames' first match-up with UNC Asheville this season was played on Saturday, Feb. 9. Liberty emerged with a 69-55 victory that afternoon.