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Lady Flames Earn No. 1 Seed, First-Round Bye

March 6, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Liberty women's basketball team has won two tournaments this season, including the National City Xavier Invitational (pictured above). The Lady Flames will aim for tournament title No. 3 next weekend in Asheville, N.C.

The Liberty women's basketball team has won two tournaments this season, including the National City Xavier Invitational (pictured above). The Lady Flames will aim for tournament title No. 3 next weekend in Asheville, N.C.

By virtue of winning its 10th Big South Conference regular-season title in the last 11 years, the Liberty women's basketball team has garnered the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye for next week's Advance Auto Parts Big South Women's Basketball Championship. All tournament games will be played at UNC Asheville's Justice Center for the second-consecutive season.

The Lady Flames, 25-3 overall and 10-1 in conference action, are slated to wrap up their regular-season schedule, Friday at 7 p.m. at the Vines Center against Radford. Liberty has entered the Big South Women's Basketball Championship as the top seed on nine previous occasions, and the Lady Flames have won the tournament title all nine times.

Liberty's semifinal opponent on March 15 at 6 p.m. will be the victor of March 14's opening-round clash between No. 4 seed High Point and No. 5 seed Coastal Carolina. The winner of the semifinal tilt will advance to the Big South Championship game, scheduled for a 2 p.m. tip-off on March 16.

The Lady Flames swept the season series from High Point for the first time since 2003-04. Liberty was victorious by a 76-57 count at home on Jan. 29 and took a 78-68 decision at High Point on Feb. 23. The Lady Flames are 4-0 all-time versus the Panthers in the Big South Championship. The squads' most recent meeting in the tournament, which came in the 2006 championship game, resulted in a 53-50 Liberty triumph.

Liberty also took both regular-season contests against Coastal Carolina. The Lady Flames won 71-44 at Coastal Carolina on Jan. 21 and notched a 76-39 victory at home on Feb. 16. Liberty has come out on top in all six previous match-ups with the Chanticleers in Big South Championship action. A 78-68 Liberty victory over Coastal Carolina in the 2003 semifinal round was the teams' last meeting in the conference tournament.

Radford, currently 8-3 in the Big South, has locked up the tournament's No. 2 seed, while Winthrop finished its conference season at 7-5 to earn the No. 3 seed. High Point's 6-6 record in league action was good for the fourth seed. Coastal Carolina went 4-8 during its Big South schedule and will be the No. 5 seed in the tournament. UNC Asheville and Charleston Southern posted identical 3-9 records in the league. The Lady Bucs swept the Bulldogs this season to earn the No. 6 slot, leaving defending Big South Champion Asheville with the No. 7 position.

The 2008 Advance Auto Parts Women's Basketball Championship begins Friday, March 14 with three games, and continues with the semifinals on March 15 and the finals on March 16. The semifinals will be televised on Sportsouth, with finals being shown on Sportsouth and a tape delay airing on CSN Mid-Atlantic. The Big South's Tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. The Conference Championship schedule is as follows:

First Round - Friday, March 14 (at Justice Center, Asheville, N.C.)
Game 1: No. 4 High Point vs. No. 5 Coastal Carolina, 2 p.m.
Game 2: No. 2 Radford vs. No. 7 UNC Asheville, 4:30 p.m.
Game 3: No. 3 Winthrop vs. No. 6 Charleston Southern, 7 p.m.

Semifinals - Saturday, March 15 (at Justice Center, Asheville, N.C.)
Game 4: No. 1 Liberty vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.; TV: Sportsouth
Game 5: Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 8:30 p.m.; TV: Sportsouth

Championship - Sunday, March 16 (at Justice Center, Asheville, N.C.)
Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 2 p.m.; TV: Sportsouth and CSN Mid-Atlantic