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Nationally-Ranked St. John's Next Up for LU
Following a week off from competition for Christmas, the Liberty women's basketball team (4-6, 0-0 Big South) will return to action with a pair of games at the Terrapin Classic, Tuesday and Wednesday at the Comcast Center in College Park, Md. The Lady Flames' opening game of the tournament will be their first-ever matchup against No. 18/17 St. John's (11-1, 1-0 BIG EAST), Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.
The tournament's other Tuesday contest will pit La Salle (4-6, 0-0 A-10) versus the host No. 19/22 Maryland Terrapins (10-1, 0-0 ACC). Tuesday's two winning teams will meet on Wednesday, as will the two losing teams. Maryland is guaranteed to play the 11:30 a.m. Wednesday contest, while La Salle will play Wednesday at 2 p.m.
On Tuesday vs. the Red Storm, the Lady Flames will attempt to defeat a BIG EAST opponent for the first time since Nov. 25, 2000, when Liberty beat West Virginia by a 78-67 score at the Vines Center. Meanwhile, St. John's will aim to extend its 10-game winning streak.
Liberty has never faced St. John's, La Salle or Maryland in women's basketball, but the Lady Flames have played four games at the Comcast Center, going 2-2. Liberty's two victories at Maryland's home facility came in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, over Penn State and DePaul. The wins advanced the Lady Flames into the "Sweet 16" for the first time in program history.
Sophomore guard/forward Jelena Antic, averaging 10.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg on the season for the Lady Flames, is coming off of arguably her best performance of the year at VCU on Dec. 21. Antic posted her first double-double of the season, consisting of 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. She was the first Liberty player to record a double-double and dish out at least five assists in the same contest since Feb. 23, 2009, when Megan Frazee did so at Charleston Southern.
Meanwhile, St. John's, which ranks No. 5 nationally in scoring defense (49.3 ppg) and No. 14 in field goal percentage defense (.332), features a balanced offensive attack. Three Red Storm players average double figures in the scoring column, led by 6-1 sophomore guard Shennika Smith, who tallies 14.3 ppg.