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LU Closes Homestand Saturday vs. Saint Paul's
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Liberty (1-6, 0-0 Big South) completes a quick, two-game homestand Saturday at 2 p.m., when Commonwealth opponent Saint Paul's (3-3, 0-1 CIAA) visits the Vines Center. The Lady Flames and Lady Tigers will be meeting for the first time since Jan. 6, 1988, even though their campuses are separated by only 107 miles.
What to Watch
Liberty is attempting to snap a five-game losing streak, which is the Lady Flames' longest losing skid since a seven-game streak in December 2000. The Lady Flames are also seeking their first-ever victory against Saint Paul's. The Lady Tigers took a pair of two-point decisions from Liberty during the 1987-88 campaign, in the teams' only two head-to-head meetings. Liberty will try to curtail the high-scoring Tatiana Ellis, who is averaging 25.8 ppg through the first six games of the season, including 44 points in the Lady Tigers' season opener against Lincoln (Pa.) on Nov. 18.
Lady Flames On The Air
All Lady Flames basketball games may be heard LIVE on WWMC 90.9 FM "The Light." Jamie Hall, celebrating his 15th year of broadcasting Lady Flames basketball, will once again be handling the courtside play-by-play duties for most road games. Josh Wood will serve as the primary commentator for home contests and will provide color analysis on the road.
Lady Flames On TV
For the sixth season in a row, the Flames Television Network (FTN) plans to broadcast all 12 home women's basketball games. FTN's regular announcing team will consist of Ray Jones on play-by-play and Jamie Hall on color.
Scouting Saint Paul's
The Saint Paul's Lady Tigers were picked to finish third in the CIAA East Division, after going 11-15 last season, including 6-12 in conference play. Saint Paul's has opened the 2008-09 campaign with a 3-3 mark, but dropped its conference opener at home to Bowie State on Nov. 25, 80-69.
The Lady Tigers are leading the CIAA in scoring, at 77.8 points per game. Leading the Saint Paul's offensive onslaught is Tatiana Ellis, a 5-9 junior guard. She opened the year with a bang, tallying a career-high 44 points in a 97-67 victory over Lincoln (Pa.) and garnering CIAA Player of the Week honors. Ellis, who already has four 20-point games to her credit, leads the conference with 25.8 ppg.
Allukesha Guy, a 5-9 freshman guard, has enjoyed a stellar start to her collegiate career. She is contributing 10.2 ppg and a team-high 5.5 rpg, through her first six games with the Lady Tigers.
The Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his 10th season with the Lady Flames, and has led his team to eight Big South titles. A four-time Big South Coach of the Year, Green owns a 214-74 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.743) ranked 10th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the season's outset.
Serena King-Coleman is 29-88 in her fifth season as the Saint Paul's head women's basketball coach. The Lady Tigers have increased their victory total each season, under her direction. King-Coleman also served one season (2003-04) as Gardner-Webb's head coach, tallying a 5-22 record at the helm of the Bulldogs.
Liberty-Saint Paul's Series Notes
Saturday's game will mark the third meeting between Liberty and Saint Paul's in women's basketball, with the Lady Tigers taking both previous matchups. Saint Paul's won both ends of a home-and-home series with Liberty during the 1987-88 season, by a combined four points.
Renee Jones was the top Saint Paul's performer, as she posted 35 points and 11 rebounds during the Lady Tigers' 81-79 triumph at Liberty Gym on Dec. 5, 1987. Jones added 22 points and 14 caroms on Jan. 6, 1988 in Lawrenceville, sparking the Lady Tigers to a slim, 82-80 win over the Lady Flames.
Head coach Mike Goad's Lady Flames were paced by Annetta Paraham's double-double (20 points, 12 rebounds) in the squads' December meeting. During the teams' second contest, Tracey Larose tossed in a game-high 27 points, while Pam Stanfield nabbed a season-high 20 boards.
Liberty Versus the CIAA
Liberty is 4-6 all-time against the current CIAA members, but the Lady Flames are 4-0 versus CIAA opposition since joining the NCAA Division I ranks. Liberty has defeated Virginia Union in each of the past four seasons. The Lady Flames are also 0-1 versus Bowie State, 0-2 versus Saint Paul's and 0-3 versus Virginia State.
Competing with the Commonwealth
Liberty is seeking its first win versus a Commonwealth opponent this season during Saturday's contest, after suffering setbacks to VCU (Nov. 14) and James Madison (Dec. 2). The Lady Flames also have a pair of games scheduled against Big South rival Radford (Feb. 2 and March 6). Last season, Liberty went 7-2 against Commonwealth foes.
Going the Distance
During each of Liberty's last three home games at the Vines Center, a Lady Flame has played all 40 minutes. Megan Frazee never came off the floor during Liberty's contests against Radford (March 7) and VCU (Nov. 14), while Amber Mays played every second of Sunday's game against No. 13/14 Auburn.
A New, Familiar Face
Jessica Nelson just wrapped up a stellar volleyball career during Liberty's first-round NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship matchup with No. 4 Nebraska on Dec. 5. Now, she is set to make her collegiate hardwood debut for the Lady Flames, just eight days later.
Nelson is the Lady Flames' first two-sport athlete since 2005 graduate Stephanie Walker, who also competed for the Liberty women's track & field team.
Nelson is believed to be the first athlete to compete in both volleyball and women's hoops at Liberty since Theresa Bream, who played basketball for the Lady Flames in 1989-90, 1990-91 and 1992-93.
Liberty had won 23 consecutive games when holding a halftime lead, until the Nov. 28-29 GW Thanksgiving Classic. The Lady Flames owned a small halftime advantage over both Hartford and South Alabama, before losing both contests. After Auburn overcame a one-point halftime deficit to defeat Liberty on Sunday, the Lady Flames are only 1-3 when holding an advantage at halftime this season.
Liberty only lost once last season when leading at the intermission. The Lady Flames owned a 10-point halftime edge at Virginia Tech on Nov. 19, 2007, before the Hokies stormed back to win, 73-68.
Freshman guard Brittany Campbell's career-high 11 points against Hartford on Nov. 28 paced all players, making her the first freshman to lead Liberty in scoring since Moriah Frazee had 11 points against DePaul in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament (March 18, 2006).
Campbell earned her first career start on Dec. 2 at James Madison, sinking three triples against the Dukes for nine total points. She was the first true freshman to start for the Lady Flames since the 2005-06 season, when Alexandria Bream, Megan Frazee, Moriah Frazee and Rebecca Lightfoot all started at least once.
Fellow freshman Kylee Beecher started for the first time on Dec. 7, versus No. 13/14 Auburn. Beecher corralled a game-high nine rebounds against the Tigers, pacing Liberty in rebounds for the second time in her first seven collegiate appearances. Beecher also recorded a team-high 10 boards versus South Alabama on Nov. 29.
Dial Three Digits for Long Distance
The Lady Flames have been able to continue a long-standing streak, so far this season. The Lady Flames have made at least one three-pointer in a school-record 110 straight games, a run which began on Feb. 26, 2005. None of the current Lady Flames were in college when the streak began.
Freshman Danika Dale kept the streak alive on Sunday versus Auburn, sinking the first two three-pointers of her collegiate career during the second half.
Start Me Up
Head coach Carey Green used only four different starting lineups in Liberty's 32 games last season. The most common starting five consisted of Allyson Fasnacht, Courtney Watkins, Megan Frazee, Rebecca Lightfoot and Moriah Frazee. The unit went 18-2 in their 20 games as a starting unit.
The Lady Flames' most successful grouping, which won all six games in 2007-08, featured Fasnacht, Watkins, Megan Frazee, Molly Frazee and Moriah Frazee.
This year, Liberty has already used four different starting lineups in the first seven games of the season. Their most successful lineup--Rachel McLeod, Rachel Hammond, Megan Frazee, Moriah Frazee and Avery Warley--has gone 1-1.
The addition of Tokyo, Japan native Jessica Nelson to the Lady Flames' roster gives Liberty an international player for the 15th consecutive season. The last time the Lady Flames' roster consisted solely of American-born players was the 1993-94 campaign. Every Carey Green-coached team at Liberty has featured at least one international player.
Anything You Can Do ...
Last season, Megan Frazee became the 11th player in program history to score 1,000 career points, eclipsing the magical mark at North Carolina on Dec. 30, 2007. This year, she could get some company from within her own family. Sister Moriah Frazee enters the Saint Paul's contest with 904 points, leaving her 96 shy of 1,000.
If Frazee scores at her current season average of 11.4 points per contest, she is due to hit the milestone on Jan. 17, during the Lady Flames' road game at Presbyterian.
Frazee is also climbing Liberty's career rebounding chart. She currently ranks 21st in program history with 489 boards, leaving her five behind Helen Gomes for the 20th spot. The senior also needs 11 caroms to become the 20th player in Liberty history to nab 500 career rebounds.
The Frazees would not be the first sister duo to score over 1,000 points at Liberty. Sharon and Sarah Wilkerson, who graduated in 2000, totaled 1,733 and 1,331 points, respectively.