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LU to Open Big South Play with Gardner-Webb
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Liberty (5-7, 0-0 Big South) will open the calendar year 2009 and the Big South Conference portion of its schedule Saturday at 7 p.m., when Gardner-Webb (7-5, 0-0 Big South) visits the Vines Center. The contest, which will be only Liberty's fourth home game of the season, will mark the Bulldogs' first-ever Big South tilt.
What to Watch
The Lady Flames will look to continue their recent strong play, as Liberty has won four of its last five games and claimed the Hokie Hardwood Classic championship on Tuesday. Liberty, the preseason pick to capture the conference title, has won eight straight Big South openers.
Gardner-Webb, one of only two conference teams with a winning non-conference record, will be making its Big South Conference debut. However, the Bulldogs' head coach, Rick Reeves, is no stranger to the conference. He coached at Liberty from 1990-91 to 1998-99, guiding the Lady Flames to a trio of Big South titles.
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 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.
The Gardner-Webb Bulldogs will be making their Big South Conference debut on Saturday, and head coach Rick Reeves' squad enters conference play with a 7-5 mark. The Bulldogs have won back-to-back games over Lipscomb and Montreat to push their record back over the .500 mark.
The Bulldogs' roster is devoid of seniors, but a pair of juniors are leading the team in scoring. Margaret Roundtree, a 6-0 forward, is posting 12.6 points per game and pacing the team with 6.5 rebounds per contest. Laura Povilonyte, a 6-1 forward who played high school basketball in Lynchburg at Holy Cross, averages 11.8 points per outing. Dominique Hudson, a 5-5 sophomore guard, chips in with 10.1 ppg and a conference-high 5.2 apg.
Coach Reeves' daughters, Kim Clark and Krystal Reeves-Evans, both of whom played at Liberty, serve as assistant coaches on his staff. Clark served as acting head coach when the Bulldogs claimed a 64-55 win at Winston-Salem State on Dec. 4, as Reeves-Evans was delivering her first daughter and her father was alongside for the birth.
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 218-75 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.744) ranked 10th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the season's outset.
Rick Reeves owns a 57-74 record in his fifth season at Gardner-Webb and is 324-312 in 23 total campaigns as a collegiate head coach. He coached at Liberty for nine seasons (1990-91 through 1998-99) and led the Lady Flames to their first three Big South championships (1997, 1998 & 1999).
Liberty-Gardner-Webb Series Notes
Liberty and Gardner-Webb will be meeting for the first time on Saturday.
Big South Openers
Liberty has won its last eight Big South openers, boosting its all-time record in conference lid-lifters to 12-5. Head coach Carey Green is 8-1 all-time in Big South openers.
Last season, the Lady Flames routed Charleston Southern, 82-53, in their first Big South contest, at the CSU Field House. Megan Frazee posted 24 points and nine rebounds, helping Green record his 200th career coaching victory.
New Year's Resolution
Liberty owns a 147-105 all-time record in January contests. Head coach Carey Green has gone 63-8 with the Lady Flames during the year's opening month, including a 7-0 January last season.
The Lady Flames have won 32 straight home games during the month of January. Liberty has not lost a January contest at the Vines Center since Jan. 13, 2000, when Elon dealt the Lady Flames a 77-72 setback.
We are the Champions!
The Lady Flames defeated Virginia Tech, 45-43, on Tuesday at Cassell Coliseum to win the Hokie Hardwood Classic. Megan Frazee hit the game-winning shot from 18 feet with just 51 seconds remaining, giving Liberty its first-ever win over the Hokies and preventing Virginia Tech from winning its 11th straight home tournament title.
Frazee was named tournament MVP, marking the fourth tournament MVP trophy she has won in the last two seasons (also 2007 National City Xavier Invitational, 2007 Lady Rebel Christmas Classic and 2008 Big South Championship). Avery Warley, who nabbed 29 rebounds in two games at the tournament, also made the all-tournament team.
Spreading the Wealth
Six Lady Flames reached double figures in the scoring column during Liberty's 92-68 triumph over Saint Paul's on Dec. 13. Freshman Kylee Beecher led the way with 18 points, followed by Moriah Frazee (16 points), Avery Warley (13), Danika Dale (12), Kittery Maine (12) and Amber Mays (10).
Liberty had not featured six double-digit scorers in the same game since Jan. 19, 1987, when Pam Wilder (25 points), Pam Stanfield (14), Harriett Blair (12), Saundra Bridges (11), Annetta Paraham (11) and Sharon Freet (10) accomplished the feat for the Lady Flames. Their efforts helped Liberty claim a 98-83 home win over Ferrum.
None of Liberty's double-figure scorers from the Saint Paul's contest were born on Jan. 19, 1987. Moriah Frazee was born a little more than two months later, on March 29.
Spreading the Wealth, Part 2
Rebounding played a key role in Liberty's 72-58 triumph over North Carolina A&T in the opening round of the Hokie Hardwood Classic on Dec. 29. The Lady Flames outrebounded the Aggies by a 51-31 count, led by three double-digit rebounders. Megan Frazee snared a game-high 12 rebounds, while Avery Warley corralled 11 boards and Kylee Beecher came up with 10 caroms.
Liberty had not seen three players grab double-digit rebounds in the same game since Jan. 31, 1998, during a 79-66 home win over Radford. A Vines Center-record crowd of 5,117 watched Elena Kisseleva tally 15 rebounds, while Kirstyn Bliss and Sharon Wilkerson rounded up 10 rebounds apiece.
Entering Conference Play on the Right Foot
After defeating Virginia Tech on Tuesday, Liberty is now 9-1 in its final tuneup for Big South play during Carey Green's 10 seasons as head coach.
Coach Green Versus the Big South
Liberty head coach Carey Green has enjoyed considerable success versus the Big South during his first nine seasons with the Lady Flames. His teams are 136-13 against Big South opponents, including 112-12 in the regular season and 24-1 in the Big South Championship.
Green has never lost to his alma mater, Coastal Carolina (21-0), or Charleston Southern (20-0) during his time at Liberty.
Turning Up the Heat in the Furnace
The 2008-09 campaign is the 17th season the Liberty University women's basketball team has called the Vines Center its full-time home. Liberty's first-ever contest at the Vines Center was an 86-74 loss to East Tennessee State, on Dec. 7, 1990, but the "Furnace" has served as a favorable venue for the Lady Flames over the years. Liberty is 179-51 (.778) all-time at the Vines Center, including 13-0 last season. The Lady Flames, 1-2 at the Vines Center in 2008-09, have 12 home games scheduled this season.
Halftime leads have not been safe so far this season in Liberty's games. Five times, the team owning the halftime advantage has gone on to lose the game. The Lady Flames have dropped a trio of contests after leading at intermission, and Liberty claimed road victories at Winston-Salem State (Dec. 20) and Virginia Tech (Dec. 30), despite trailing at the break in both contests.
Over the past two seasons, the Lady Flames are 5-6 when trailing at the break.
Redshirt freshman Avery Warley controlled the glass at the Hokie Hardwood Classic, ripping down 29 rebounds in the Lady Flames' two victories to fall just two boards shy of the tournament record.
Warley came up with a career-high 18 rebounds to pace all players in the championship game against Virginia Tech. Ten of Warley's boards versus the Hokies came at the offensive end, as she nearly became the first Lady Flame with a 20-rebound contest since Theresa Bream had 23 boards against St. Peter's on Dec. 4, 1992.
Warley added 11 points against Virginia Tech to complete her first double-double.
Triple the Trouble
Liberty sports the only set of triplets currently playing for the same NCAA Division I women's basketball team--seniors Megan, Molly and Moriah Frazee. Last season, the Frazees averaged 37.6 points and 19.0 rebounds per outing, good for 52.5 percent of the Lady Flames' total scoring output and 44.8 percent of the team's boards. Collectively, the Frazee triplets have totaled 2,997 career points and 1,571 career rebounds, leaving them just three points shy of 3,000 as a trio.
Clamping Down on Defense
The Lady Flames have held 63 consecutive opponents under 50 percent field goal shooting. The last Liberty foe to sink more than half of its field goal attempts was Marist, at the Maryland Terrapin Classic on Dec. 29, 2006.
Liberty is off to a good start defensively in 2008-09. Seven of the Lady Flames' first 12 opponents have shot below 40 percent from the floor. Liberty ranks second in the Big South with a .366 opponents field goal percentage.
A Clutch Performer
Megan Frazee drained a game-winning 18-foot jumper with 51 seconds left on Tuesday at Virginia Tech, representing her third game-winning shot in the senior's last six appearances. Frazee also defeated Radford (March 16, 2008 - Big South Championship) and UC Riverside (Nov. 21, 2008 - Preseason WNIT) with close-range field goals in the final seconds.
Liberty has played well in the second half of its last five games, against Saint Paul's, Winston-Salem State, Vanderbilt, North Carolina A&T and Virginia Tech. The Lady Flames have outscored their foes by an average of 10 points during the final 20 minutes, helping them go 4-1 during the stretch..
Winning the Battle of the Boards
The Lady Flames have outrebounded six straight opponents, including two nationally-ranked SEC foes, Auburn and Vanderbilt. Only two teams (Western Carolina and James Madison) have won the rebounding battle against Liberty this season, as the Lady Flames lead the Big South Conference with a +7.2 rebounding margin.
During the Hokie Hardwood Classic, Liberty won the rebounding battle against North Carolina A&T by 20 boards and hauled in 16 more caroms than Virginia Tech. The Lady Flames notched 39 offensive rebounds during the two games in Blacksburg.
Liberty, which currently ranks No. 59 nationally for rebounding margin, has finished in the top five in the category for five consecutive seasons. The Lady Flames led the nation in rebounding margin during both the 2003-04 and 2004-05 campaigns.