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Liberty, Winthrop Set for Saturday Matinee
Game Day Central
The top two teams in the Big South preseason poll, Liberty (6-7, 1-0 Big South) and Winthrop (6-6, 1-0 Big South), will square off Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum. The Lady Flames and Eagles are two of the four remaining unbeaten teams in conference play.
What to Watch
The Lady Flames will attempt to avenge their only Big South setback from the 2007-08 season, a 56-52 loss at Winthrop on Feb. 27, 2008. Liberty had won 25 straight games against the Lady Eagles, before that contest.
Liberty is in the midst of a season-long three-game winning streak, and the Lady Flames have won five of their past six games after starting the year 1-6.
Saturday's game figures to be a defensive struggle, as both Liberty and Winthrop are both limiting their opponents to less than 58 points per game. Additionally, both squads' opponents are shooting under 36 percent from the field this season.
The contest will feature 60 percent of the Big South preseason all-conference team. Liberty's Megan Frazee (Preseason Player of the Year) and Moriah Frazee and Winthrop's Ashley Fann were all included on the squad.
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.
The Winthrop Lady Eagles return all five starters from the 2007-08 team which went 20-12 and reached the semifinals of the Big South Championship. Winthrop has been a bit inconsistent this season, but the Lady Eagles defeated North Carolina A&T early in the year and claimed a double-digit victory in their Big South opener at Presbyterian on Saturday.
Leading the way for Winthrop is four-year starter Ashley Fann, a 6-0 senior forward. A preseason all-conference selection, she paces the Lady Eagles' offense with 11.7 ppg and ranks second in the conference with 8.7 rpg. Classmate Tiffany Rodd, a 6-0 guard, is Winthrop's top sharpshooter. She averages 9.4 ppg and has hit 23 three-pointers this season. For her career, Rodd ranks second in Big South history with 223 triples.
Winthrop has played well at the Winthrop Coliseum recently. After going 10-4 at home in 2007-08, the Lady Eagles have won four of their first six home games this season.
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 219-75 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.745) ranked 10th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the season's outset. Green is 20-1 all-time against Winthrop.
Bud Childers is 48-85 in his fifth season as Winthrop's head coach and is 423-324 in 27 total seasons as a collegiate head coach. Childers has also coached at Cumberland College, Montevallo, Murray State, Louisville and James Madison. He was named 1997 Conference USA Coach of the Year and 2000 CAA Coach of the Year. Childers is 2-9 all-time versus Liberty.
Liberty-Winthrop Series Notes
Liberty owns a 34-7 advantage in the all-time head-to-head series with Winthrop. The Lady Flames had defeated the Lady Eagles 25 consecutive times, before Winthrop won a 56-52 contest at the Winthrop Coliseum on Feb. 27, 2008.
Megan Frazee led all players in both points (17) and rebounds (12) in the teams' Feb. 27 meeting and nearly helped her team overcome a 10-point deficit. However, Franchesca Davenport's team-high 12 points enabled Winthrop to claim its first win over Liberty since Feb. 22, 1997.
New Year's Resolution
Liberty owns a 148-105 all-time record in January contests, after winning its first contest of 2009, Jan. 3 against Gardner-Webb. Head coach Carey Green has gone 64-8 with the Lady Flames during the year's opening month, including a 7-0 January last season.
The Lady Flames have won 33 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.
Off to a Fast Start
Liberty defeated Gardner-Webb, 55-42, on Jan. 3 in the Big South Conference opener for both teams. The Lady Flames have started conference play with a victory nine straight times and are now 9-1 in conference openers under head coach Carey Green.
Senior guard/forward Megan Frazee was sidelined with an ankle injury for eight games, before returning to action Dec. 29 against North Carolina A&T. In the three games since Frazee's return, she is averaging 20.7 ppg and 9.3 rpg and has helped Liberty go 3-0.
Frazee was recognized as Big South Women's Basketball Player of the Week on Jan. 5, based upon those three performances. A two-time conference player of the week this season, Frazee is the only Big South player to win the award multiple times so far in 2008-09. She is now a 14-time Big South Player of the Week in her career.
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 137-13 against Big South opponents, including 113-12 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.
Playing Well in the Palmetto State
Liberty head coach Carey Green has strong ties to the Palmetto State, South Carolina. He graduated from Coastal Carolina and served for 12 years as an assistant women's basketball coach at Clemson.
Since taking over at Liberty in 1999-2000, Green has enjoyed returning to South Carolina, leading his team to a 27-2 record in games played in the state.
Redshirt freshman Avery Warley has been controlling the glass for the Lady Flames, since returning to campus after Christmas break. She has totaled 44 rebounds in the last three contests, including a career-high 18 boards versus Virginia Tech on Dec. 30. Warley has been active at both ends of the floor, as 21 of her caroms have come off the offensive glass.
Warley's recent rebounding tear has propelled her into first place on the Big South rebounding list, with 8.8 rpg. Only three Lady Flames have ever led the conference in rebounding for a season (Wendy Johnson in 1991-92, Katie Feenstra three times and Megan Frazee in 2006-07).
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. Career totals of 1,000 points and 500 rebounds represent a very solid collegiate performer. The Frazee triplets have averaged more than 1,000 points and 500 rebounds between them.
During Liberty's Jan. 3 victory over Gardner-Webb, the triplets exceeded the 3,000-career point total. Megan, Molly and Moriah Frazee have totaled 3,030 points and 1,581 rebounds during their four spectacular years at Liberty.
Megan Frazee has scored in double figures in each of her last 49 games, dating back to Jan. 27, 2007. It is the longest such streak of her career and the longest by a Liberty player since Elena Kisseleva tallied 10 or more points in 62 straight contests, spanning the 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons.
Frazee has only scored nine or fewer points on four occasions at Liberty, and has never done so in consecutive outings.
Clamping Down on Defense
The Lady Flames have held 64 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. Eight of the Lady Flames' first 13 opponents have shot below 40 percent from the floor. Liberty ranks second in the Big South with a .359 opponents field goal percentage.
In Good Company
On Monday, Megan Frazee was honored as Big South Women's Basketball Player of the Week. It was the second time the senior has captured the award this season and was her 14th career weekly conference honor.
Only former Liberty standout Katie Feenstra has collected more Big South Women's Basketball Player of the Week awards in conference history. Feenstra finished her Liberty career with 15 weekly plaques.
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 Winthrop contest with 964 points, leaving her 36 shy of 1,000.
If Frazee scores at her current season average of 10.8 points per contest, she is due to hit the milestone on Jan. 19, during the Lady Flames' game at UNC Asheville.
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.
It is believed that Liberty would be first NCAA Division I women's basketball program ever to boast multiple sets of sisters who scored over 1,000 points. Moreover, the Wilkersons were twins and the Frazees are triplets.
Cranking Up the Defense
Liberty has played exceptional defense during its current three-game winning streak. The Lady Flames have held North Carolina A&T, Virginia Tech and Gardner-Webb all to season-low point totals. The three teams have scored only 47.7 ppg against Liberty and have combined to shoot just 30.9 percent (54-of-175) from the field.
Liberty has played well in the second half of its last six games, against Saint Paul's, Winston-Salem State, Vanderbilt, North Carolina A&T, Virginia Tech and Gardner-Webb. The Lady Flames have outscored their foes by an average of 8.3 points during the final 20 minutes, helping them go 5-1 during the stretch.
Winning the Battle of the Boards
The Lady Flames have outrebounded seven 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 +8.7 rebounding margin.
During the last three games, Liberty has outrebounded North Carolina A&T, Virginia Tech and Gardner-Webb by a combined 62 boards. The Lady Flames have grabbed a total of 59 offensive caroms in the three victories.
Liberty, which currently ranks No. 19 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.