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LU Ready for First-Ever Visit to Presbyterian
Game Day Central
The Liberty Lady Flames (8-7, 2-0 Big South) will return to the road for a Saturday afternoon conference tilt against Presbyterian (2-11, 0-2 Big South). The Lady Flames' first-ever visit to Templeton Arena in Clinton, S.C., is slated for a 5 p.m. tip-off.
What to Watch
Liberty and Presbyterian enter Saturday's game on opposite ends of the spectrum. The Lady Flames are riding a season-long five-game winning streak, since senior Megan Frazee returned from injury. Liberty is looking to remain one of the conference's two unbeaten teams, along with High Point.
Meanwhile, Presbyterian has dropped eight decisions in a row and is seeking the first Big South win in program history. This is the first season the Blue Hose have counted in the conference standings.
Liberty senior Moriah Frazee is nearing a milestone, as she is only 19 points away from becoming the Lady Flames' 12th member of the career 1,000-point club.
Liberty athletic teams have not fared well in visits to Clinton during the 2008-09 athletic year. The men's soccer team pulled out a 2-1 win at Presbyterian on Oct. 18, but the football, volleyball and men's basketball squads all went down to defeat on the road against the Blue Hose.
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 Presbyterian Blue Hose are in their second year of transition between the NCAA's Division II and Division I. For the first time, the Blue Hose are eligible for the Big South regular-season championship, and they are seeking the first conference win in program history.
Presbyterian has already matched its win total from the 2007-08 season, picking up back-to-back home triumphs over Colgate and Montreat in November. Since then, the Blue Hose have struggled through an eight-game losing skid.
The young Blue Hose roster, which features no seniors and only two juniors, is paced by a pair of sophomore guards. Amanda Mills is the team's leading scorer with 10.5 ppg and ranks fourth in the conference with 28 three-pointers. Backcourt mate Katlin Moore is posting 10.5 ppg and sits sixth in the Big South for assists (3.9 apg).
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 221-75 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.747) ranked 10th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the season's outset. Green is 1-0 all-time against Presbyterian.
Ronny Fisher is 2-11 in his first season as Presbyterian's head coach. The Furman alumnus had previously spent 10 years as an assistant coach for the Blue Hose men's basketball team.
Liberty-Presbyterian Series Notes
Liberty rolled to an 88-41 victory in its only previous meeting with Presbyterian, last season at the Vines Center.
The Lady Flames held the Blue Hose without a field goal for the first 12 minutes of their Jan. 26, 2008 tilt, running out to a 29-2 lead to open the contest. Presbyterian got no closer than 19 points down the remainder of the afternoon.
Four Liberty players reached double figures in the scoring column, including all three Frazee triplets. Moriah Frazee paced the Lady Flames with 15 markers.
However, Presbyterian's Amy Jones led all players with her 16 points and also chipped in a quartet of assists.
New Year's Resolution
Liberty owns a 150-105 all-time record in January contests, after winning its first three contests of 2009. Head coach Carey Green has gone 66-8 with the Lady Flames during the year's opening month, including a 7-0 January last season.
The Lady Flames have won 34 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.
Liberty has won 12 consecutive January contests overall, since a 64-62 overtime loss at High Point on Jan. 20, 2007.
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 28-2 record in games played in the state. The Lady Flames are 1-0 in South Carolina this season and have three more Palmetto State tilts scheduled.
Down, But Not Out
On Tuesday, East Tennessee State ran out to an early seven-point advantage at the Vines Center, before Liberty rallied for a 64-54 win. It was the fifth time the Lady Flames have erased a six-point deficit to win this season (also UC Riverside, North Carolina A&T, Virginia Tech and Winthrop).
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 five games since Frazee's return, she is averaging 19.6 ppg and 9.6 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.
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 138-13 against Big South opponents, including 114-12 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.
Redshirt freshman Avery Warley has been controlling the glass for the Lady Flames, since returning to campus after Christmas break. She has totaled 59 rebounds in the last five contests, including a career-high 18 boards versus Virginia Tech on Dec. 30. Warley has been active at both ends of the floor, as 27 of her caroms have come off the offensive glass.
One of Warley's most important rebounds came during the closing stages of Liberty's Jan. 10 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.
Warley has also boosted her offensive production of late, as she is averaging a double-double (10.0 ppg, 11.8 rpg) over the last five games and has recorded the first two double-doubles of her Liberty career.
Winning Streaks in Abundance
Liberty has won five consecutive games, entering this weekend's conference road swing to Presbyterian and UNC Asheville. The winning streak is the Lady Flames' longest of the season, but such streaks are nothing new for head coach Carey Green.
The Lady Flames have posted a winning streak of at least five games every season since Green took over as head coach, prior to the 1999-2000 campaign. Liberty's current winning skein is its 16th streak of at least five consecutive wins under Green's direction.
Wanted for Robbery
Liberty ranks only eighth in the Big South for steals, averaging 7.7 thefts per contest. However, the Lady Flames have been very active on defense in the last two contests. Liberty came up with 13 steals on Jan. 10 at Winthrop and matched a season-high with 17 steals, Tuesday night versus East Tennessee State.
Liberty's 17 steals on Tuesday was the most steals by the Lady Flames against a Division I opponent since coming up with 17 thefts against Charleston Southern on Feb. 19, 2007.
Starting guards Amber Mays and Rachel Hammond have led the way for the Lady Flames' surge in steals, as they rank sixth and seventh, respectively, on the Big South steals leaderboard.
Mays has notched a dozen steals in the past two games, including a career-high eight-steal effort versus East Tennessee State on Tuesday. Her eight steals were the most by a Lady Flame since Sharon Wilkerson recorded eight thefts at High Point on Feb. 21, 2000. Mays ties for the fifth-most steals in a single game in Liberty history.
Meanwhile, Hammond has been a consistent disruptive force on defense this season, tallying multiple steals in 10 of the first 15 games. As a result, the senior has already established a career high with 30 steals.
Clamping Down on Defense
The Lady Flames have held 66 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. Ten of the Lady Flames' first 15 opponents, including the last five in a row, have shot below 40 percent from the floor. Liberty ranks second in the Big South with a .359 opponents field goal percentage.
The Lady Flames are 8-2 this season when their opponents shoot under 40 percent from the field, but 0-5 when their foes make at least 40 percent of their field goal tries.
Nearing a Big South Milestone
Megan Frazee has totaled 772 career rebounds, leaving her just 20 boards shy of a spot among the Big South's all-time top 10 rebounders. Frazee would become the third Lady Flame within the top 10, joining Katie Feenstra (second place) and Elena Kisseleva (sixth place).
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 Presbyterian contest with 981 points, leaving her 19 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 five-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 five foes have scored only 49.6 ppg against Liberty and have combined to shoot just 32.9 percent from the field.
Winning the Battle of the Boards
The Lady Flames have outrebounded 12 teams in their first 15 games of the season. Only three teams (Western Carolina, James Madison and Winthrop) have won the rebounding battle against Liberty this season, as the Lady Flames lead the Big South Conference with a +8.1 rebounding margin.
Liberty, which currently ranks No. 25 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.