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Liberty to Make First Visit to Gardner-Webb
Game Day Central
The Liberty Lady Flames (14-7, 8-0 Big South) return to the road for a quick, one-game trip to Gardner-Webb (12-10, 4-5 Big South), Monday evening. Liberty's first-ever contest at Paul Porter Arena is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
What to Watch
The Lady Flames will attempt to complete a regular-season series sweep of Gardner-Webb. Liberty defeated the Bulldogs, 55-42, in Gardner-Webb's first-ever Big South tilt, Jan. 3 at the Vines Center.
Gardner-Webb has played extremely well at Paul Porter Arena this season, winning all nine of its home games. Meanwhile, the Lady Flames have experienced a run of success away from the Vines Center, posting five consecutive road/neutral victories and winning six out of their last seven.
Liberty's winning streak stands at 11 games, entering Monday's game. Smothering defense has highlighted the Lady Flames' streak, as Liberty has held nine of its 11 opponents to 51 points or less.
Liberty has done a stellar job of holding the Big South's top scorers in check this season. Gardner-Webb's Margaret Roundtree is tied for fifth on the conference scoring ledger, at 11.3 ppg. She managed 10 points against the Lady Flames on Jan. 3, but shot just 4-of-16 from the field.
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.
Gardner-Webb received a bit of a rude welcome to the Big South Conference, losing its first four league games. However, the Bulldogs have bounced back, claiming four victories in their last five Big South contests. Interestingly, Gardner-Webb has won all of its Big South home games, but lost all of its conference road tilts.
A pair of junior forwards score in double figures for the Bulldogs, led by Margaret Roundtree's 11.3 ppg. Laura Povilonyte, who prepped at Holy Cross High School in Lynchburg, chips in with 11.1 ppg.
Teonika Webb, a 5-10 guard/forward, became the Bulldogs' first weekly award winner in the Big South Conference, on Jan. 26. The only Commonwealth native on Gardner-Webb's roster, Webb was tabbed Big South Freshman of the Week.
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 227-75 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.752) ranked 10th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the season's outset. Green is 1-0 all-time against Gardner-Webb.
Rick Reeves owns a 62-78 record in his fifth season as Gardner-Webb's head coach and is 329-317 in 23 total years of collegiate head coaching. Reeves served as Liberty's head coach for nine seasons (1991-99) and led the Lady Flames to a trio of Big South titles (1996-97, 1997-98 & 1998-99). He is 0-1 coaching against Liberty.
Liberty-Gardner-Webb Series Notes
Monday's game will be only the second contest between Liberty and Gardner-Webb. The Lady Flames were victorious in the teams' first-ever meeting, claiming a 55-42 decision, Jan. 3 at the Vines Center. The game was also Gardner-Webb's first Big South Conference tilt in program history.
Liberty used an 18-2 run, which spanned the first and second half, to open up some breathing room. The Lady Flames' Megan Frazee led all players with 19 points, while teammate Avery Warley fashioned a double-double, with 10 points and a game-high 15 boards.
Margaret Roundtree scored a team-high 10 points for Gardner-Webb, which was held to its lowest point total of the season.
Don't I Know You?
There are a number of interesting connections between Liberty and Gardner-Webb.
Gardner-Webb Head Coach Rick Reeves spent nine seasons as Liberty's head coach (1991-99). While at Liberty, Reeves coached his daughters, Kim and Krystal. Both now serve as assistants on his coaching staff at Gardner-Webb.
Additionally, Ruth (Hammond) Bailey, the older sister of Liberty senior guard Rachel Hammond, played four seasons for the Gardner-Webb women's basketball team (2000-04).
Fabulous in February
Liberty has won 86 of its last 91 games played during the month of February, dating back to the 1997 Big South Championship. The only teams to defeat the Lady Flames in February since then are High Point (three times), UNC Asheville and Winthrop.
Liberty owns a 167-121 all-time mark during the year's second month, including a 67-5 record under Carey Green. The Lady Flames went 6-1 in February last season and have six February contests on the schedule in 2008-09. Liberty is 1-0 so far this month.
Recipe For Success
Liberty has won 11 consecutive games, and the following are a few keys the Lady Flames' success.
-- All 11 opponents have been held below 60 points.
-- All 11 opponents have shot below 40 percent from the field.
-- Liberty has outrebounded 10 of 11 opponents by 11 boards or more.
-- Megan Frazee has averaged 18.3 ppg and 9.5 rpg, since returning from an ankle injury which sidelined her for eight games.
-- Liberty is shooting 37.9 percent from three-point range and averaging 4.5 triples per contest, as compared with 27.5 percent and 2.8 triples per game before the streak.
-- The Lady Flames' starting backcourt of Amber Mays and Rachel Hammond has posted 75 assists, 43 steals and only 44 turnovers.
-- Liberty is scoring 14.2 more points in the paint than its opponents, on average.
Liberty has begun to find its outside shooting touch recently, sinking 37 triples and shooting 44.6 percent from beyond the three-point arc in the last six games.
Leading the way are two of the most prolific three-point shooters in program history. Megan Frazee, ranked ninth on Liberty's career list with 89 triples, has hit 14 of her last 25 from downtown (56 percent).
Rachel Hammond, whose 67 career three-pointers tie her for 14th on the list, has connected on 15 of her last 25 three-point attempts (60 percent). Hammond made a program-record nine consecutive triples without a miss, between Jan. 24-31.
Hammond made five treys against High Point on Jan. 31, marking the first time a Lady Flame has connected on five three-pointers in a single game since Dec. 15, 2001, when Daina Staugaitiene did so at Hampton.
Senior Rachel Hammond was tabbed the Big South Player of the Week on Feb. 2, for the first time in her career. She averaged 16.5 ppg and 5.0 rpg during Liberty's victories over Coastal Carolina and High Point to garner the honor. Hammond shot 77.8 percent (7-of-9) from three-point range for the week, with five of her triples coming during a career-best 25-point outburst against High Point (Jan. 31).
A Little Breathing Room
Liberty has won its last five games, all Big South contests, by 23 points or more. For the season, the Lady Flames are winning their conference games by an average of 21.1 ppg.
This is only the second time in program history Liberty has won five straight games by more than 20 points. The 2004-05 Lady Flames defeated five straight opponents by more than 20 points, from Feb. 28-March 12, 2005.
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 144-13 against Big South opponents, including 120-12 in the regular season and 24-1 in the Big South Championship.
Green has never lost to his alma mater, Coastal Carolina (22-0), or Charleston Southern (21-0) during his time at Liberty.
The Lady Flames are currently on an 11-game winning streak, as they have not lost a game since falling at No. 19/20 Vanderbilt on Dec. 22.
The streak is tied for the ninth longest in program history. Here is a look at the Lady Flames' longest winning streaks, eight of which have come with Carey Green as head coach.
Liberty's other 11-game winning streak came at the end of Green's first season at Liberty, 1999-2000. The Lady Flames won their last eight regular-season contests and all three Big South Championship games.
1) 28 games (Nov. 21, 1997 - Feb. 28, 1998)
2) 22 games (Dec. 21, 2002 - March 9, 2003)
3) 19 games (Jan. 6, 2004 - March 13, 2004)
4) 14 games (Jan. 28, 2006 - March 11, 2006)
5T) 13 games (Jan. 5, 2008 - Feb. 23, 2008)
5T) 13 games (Jan. 24, 2002 - March 2, 2002)
7T) 12 games (Jan. 15, 2005 - Feb. 21, 2005)
7T) 12 games (Jan. 23, 1999 - Feb. 27, 1999)
9T) 11 games (Dec. 29, 2008 - Present)
9T) 11 games (Feb. 3, 2000 - March 4, 2000)
Lady Flames Excel in the Classroom
Liberty was one of only three Division I women's basketball teams (also Kansas State and Portland State) to place three players on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District teams. Megan Frazee (3.91 GPA, Kinesiology) was a first-team honoree for the third straight season, while classmates Moriah Frazee (3.64 GPA, Nursing) and Rachel Hammond (3.95 GPA, Social Science) made the second team.
Nation's Longest Winning Streaks
Liberty has won 11 games in a row, which is tied for the fifth-longest active winning streak among NCAA Division I women's basketball games, through Saturday's action.
No. 1 Connecticut has won a nation-best 23 consecutive games.
Liberty in the National Rankings
During Liberty's winning streak, the Lady Flames have been surging upward in the NCAA national statistical rankings. Liberty now ranks in the top 10 nationally in three statistical categories. The Lady Flames are listed No. 5 in both rebounding margin (+11.3) and field goal percentage defense (.341) and No. 10 in scoring defense (53.4 ppg).
Liberty and No. 21/23 Xavier are the only two teams in the nation which rank in the top 10 of all three of those categories.
On a Record Pace
Liberty is yielding just 53.4 ppg and has held 10 opponents below the 50-point mark. The Lady Flames' stifling defense is among the best in program history. Liberty's all-time record for scoring defense in a season is 54.7 ppg, set in 2001-02.
The Container is Half Full
Liberty connected on 52.4 percent (33-of-63) of its field goal attempts versus Radford on Feb. 2, shooting over 50 percent for the third time in the last four games. The Lady Flames are 4-0 this year, when making more than half of their field goals.
The Lady Flames went 9-0 last season when shooting 50 percent or higher, and Liberty is now 53-0 in such contests under head coach Carey Green.
Megan Frazee has scored in double figures in each of her last 57 games, dating back to Jan. 27, 2007. It is the longest such streak of her career and the second longest ever by a Liberty player.
Elena Kisseleva owns the program record, tallying 10 or more points in 62 straight contests, spanning the 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons.
Chasing Another Record
Megan Frazee has posted six double-doubles this season, pushing her career total to 44. Katie Feenstra owns the program record, with 49 career double-doubles.
Clamping Down on Defense
The Lady Flames have held 72 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. Sixteen of the Lady Flames' first 21 opponents, including the last 11 in a row, have shot below 40 percent from the floor. Liberty leads the Big South and ranks No. 11 nationally with a .341 opponents field goal percentage.
The Lady Flames are 14-2 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.
Climbing the Big South Rebounding Ladder
Megan Frazee's 14 rebounds versus High Point on Jan. 31 pushed her into ninth place on the Big South's career rebounding list, with 829 boards.
Frazee will pass Jennifer Grant of Radford, a 2000 graduate, for eighth place with three more rebounds.
Nearing a Milestone
Liberty is 498-403 all-time in women's basketball, since the inception of the program in 1975-76. As a result, the Lady Flames sit only two wins shy of the 500-victory milestone. Here is a look at some of Liberty's previous milestone triumphs.
Win No. - Date - Opponent - Score
100 - 12/9/86 - Bluefield - 107-55
200 - 2/10/96 - UNC Asheville - 72-70
300 - 1/13/01 - Winthrop - 74-63
400 - 2/5/05 - High Point - 72-49
Cranking Up the Defense
Liberty has played exceptional defense during its current 11-game winning streak. The Lady Flames have held North Carolina A&T, Virginia Tech, Gardner-Webb, Coastal Carolina, High Point and Radford all to season-low point totals during the stretch. Liberty's 11 foes have scored only 46.9 ppg against Liberty and have combined to shoot just 31 percent from the field.
Winning the Battle of the Boards
The Lady Flames have outrebounded 17 teams in their first 21 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 +11.3 rebounding margin.
Liberty, which currently ranks No. 5 nationally for rebounding margin, has finished in the top five nationally 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.
Less Than a Point Per Minute
Liberty held Radford to 15 first-half points on Saturday, marking the sixth time this season, the Lady Flames have limited their opponent to fewer than 20 first-half markers. Liberty has gone on to win all six contests.
During the Lady Flames' current winning streak, they have outscored their opponents by an average score of 31.8 to 21.2 in the first half.
The Lady Flames enter Monday's contest on a four-game road winning streak, and Liberty has won five of its last six road outings.