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ETSU to Visit Vines Tuesday Night at 7
Game Day Central
Tuesday night's contest between Liberty (7-7, 2-0 Big South) and East Tennessee State (7-6, 5-1 Atlantic Sun), the Lady Flames' final regular-season non-conference game, will pit a pair of teams on a roll. Liberty and East Tennessee State both enter the contest on four-game winning streaks and both reside near the top of their respective conference standings. Tip-off at the Vines Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.
What to Watch
Both Liberty and East Tennessee State played in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, and both teams are favored to return to the postseason this season.
Last season, the Lady Flames and Lady Bucs played a competitive contest at the Memorial Center. East Tennessee State led for much of the contest, before Liberty put together a 9-2, game-ending run to pull out a 64-60 victory.
East Tennessee State features Siarre Evans, a 5-11 junior guard/forward who is currently averaging a double-double (14.3 ppg, 10.2 rpg).
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.
Scouting East Tennessee State
The East Tennessee State Lady Buccaneers enjoyed a banner season in 2007-08. ETSU went 21-12 and captured the Atlantic Sun Championship, earning the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament bid.
Three starters, including first-team all-conference honoree Siarre Evans, return from last year's squad. As a result, the Lady Buccaneers were tabbed to repeat as Atlantic Sun champions.
After a slow start, East Tennessee State has turned things around recently. Beginning with a road win at Kentucky on Dec. 12, the Lady Bucs have won six of their last seven contests.
Three players are scoring in double figures for ETSU, led by Evans, a 5-11 junior guard/forward. She is averaging a double-double, with 14.3 ppg and 10.2 rpg. Also averaging double figures are 5-10 junior guard TaRonda Wiles (13.5 ppg) and 6-2 junior forward Latisha Belcher (12.7 ppg).
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 220-75 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.746) ranked 10th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the season's outset. Green is 2-0 all-time against East Tennessee State.
Karen Kemp is 201-210 in her 15th season as East Tennessee State's head coach. She recently reached a milestone, recording her 200th career win on Jan. 8 at Florida Gulf Coast. Last season, Kemp earned the Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year award, after winning the Southern Conference Coach of the Year honor in 1995. Kemp is 1-2 against Liberty during her coaching career.
Liberty-East Tennessee State Series Notes
East Tennessee State leads the all-time head-to-head series by a 7-4 count, but the Lady Flames have won the teams' last two meetings.
Last season, ETSU led for much of the game against Liberty, Jan. 8, 2008 at the Memorial Center. However, the Lady Flames ended the contest with a 9-2 burst to record a 64-60 victory. Megan Frazee's 21 points and 12 rebounds led the way for the Lady Flames, and sister Molly Frazee converted a three-point play with 1:05 remaining to put Liberty in front for good. Siarre Evans paced the Lady Bucs with 13 points and eight rebounds.
The last time East Tennessee State visited the Vines Center was Dec. 9, 1999. Liberty posted a 74-59 win, as twins Sarah and Sharon Wilkerson combined for 52 points.
Liberty Versus the Atlantic Sun Conference
The Lady Flames have faced four current members of the Atlantic Sun Conference, going 11-21 against Atlantic Sun teams. Liberty is 7-12 versus Campbell, 4-7 versus East Tennessee State, 0-1 versus Mercer and 0-1 versus Stetson.
New Year's Resolution
Liberty owns a 149-105 all-time record in January contests, after winning its first two contests of 2009. Head coach Carey Green has gone 65-8 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.
Down, But Not Out
On Saturday, Liberty trailed Winthrop by six points with less than five minutes remaining, before rallying for a 55-51 win. Winthrop had led by as many as seven points earlier in the game, meaning the Lady Flames have erased a six-point deficit to win four times this season (also UC Riverside, North Carolina A&T and Virginia Tech).
Liberty's largest rally of the season came on Dec. 30, in the Hokie Hardwood Classic title game against Virginia Tech. The Hokies led by eight points midway through the second half, but the Lady Flames came back to notch a 45-43 triumph.
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 four games since Frazee's return, she is averaging 20.5 ppg and 8.8 rpg and has helped Liberty go 4-0.
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 was the first Big South player to win the award multiple times in 2008-09. She is now a 14-time Big South Player of the Week in her career.
Liberty's Magic Number is 55
Liberty has scored 55 points in each of its last two victories, after recording a 55-42 win over Gardner-Webb on Jan. 3 and a 55-51 decision at Winthrop on Saturday.
The Lady Flames also defeated Winston-Salem State by a 55-43 count on Dec. 20, meaning three of Liberty's seven victories this season have been won with 55 points.
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 180-51 (.779) all-time at the Vines Center, including 13-0 last season. The Lady Flames, 2-2 at the Vines Center in 2008-09, have 12 home games scheduled this season.
Redshirt freshman Avery Warley has been controlling the glass for the Lady Flames, since returning to campus after Christmas break. She has totaled 51 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 25 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 8.7 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).
One of Warley's most important rebounds came during the closing stages of Saturday's win at Winthrop. With the score knotted at 49-all, Warley snared an offensive rebound and converted a layup, giving her team the lead for good with just 30.0 seconds left on the clock.
It was also Warley's offensive rebound off a missed free throw that set the stage for Megan Frazee's game-winning jumper, Dec. 30 at Virginia Tech.
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 its 20 games as a starting unit.
This year, Liberty has already used five different starting lineups in the first 14 games of the season. Moriah Frazee, Rachel Hammond and Avery Warley have been the only three Lady Flames to start every contest.
The Lady Flames' most recent lineup, consisting of Moriah Frazee, Hammond, Warley, Amber Mays and Megan Frazee, is a perfect 4-0.
Megan Frazee has scored in double figures in each of her last 50 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 65 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. Nine of the Lady Flames' first 14 opponents, including the last four in a row, have shot below 40 percent from the floor. Liberty ranks second in the Big South with a .361 opponents field goal percentage.
The Lady Flames are 7-2 this season when their opponents shoot under 40 percent from the field.
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 East Tennessee State contest with 971 points, leaving her 29 shy of 1,000.
If Frazee scores at her current season average of 10.5 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 four-game winning streak. The Lady Flames have held North Carolina A&T, Virginia Tech and Gardner-Webb all to season-low point totals during the stretch. Liberty's four foes have scored only 48.5 ppg against Liberty and have combined to shoot just 32.7 percent from the field.
Coming Through in the Clutch
With Liberty's 55-51 win at Winthrop on Saturday, the Lady Flames improved to 3-2 this season, in games decided by five points or less. Two of Liberty's last three games have been tight victories, as the Lady Flames also pulled out a 45-43 win at Virginia Tech on Dec. 30.
Last season, Liberty excelled in tight situations, winning five of its seven contests decided by five points or less. The Lady Flames' close victories included the championship games of the National City Xavier Invitational, Lady Rebel Christmas Classic and Big South Championship.