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Lady Flames Aim to Extend Streaks at Coastal
Liberty (17-8, 11-1 Big South) will open its last road trip of the regular season with its final visit to Coastal Carolina's (9-16, 3-10 Big South) Kimbel Arena, Saturday at 2 p.m. The Chanticleers will open a new basketball arena for the 2011-12 season. Liberty will look to extend a number of winning streaks, including a string of 34 straight wins over the Chanticleers.
Additionally, a triumph by the Lady Flames paired with a Radford loss at Charleston Southern on Saturday would clinch the No. 1 seed for the Big South Women's Basketball Championship.
Liberty has won 34 consecutive meetings with Coastal Carolina, increasing its all-time lead in the head-to-head series to 44-7. The Lady Flames' winning streak versus the Chanticleers is the seventh-longest active streak against a single opponent in Division I women's basketball.
Liberty has won 14 straight games at Kimbel Arena, since a 70-55 Coastal Carolina victory on Feb. 19, 1996. That was the Chanticleers' most recent win over the Lady Flames in any venue.
Last year, Coastal Carolina gave the Lady Flames a scare at Kimbel Arena. On Jan. 25, 2010, the Chanticleers led 28-18 with 17:06 left, before Liberty roared back to claim a 57-38 win.
Coastal Carolina nearly pulled out a victory over the Lady Flames earlier this season as well. On Jan. 24 at the Vines Center, the Chanticleers cut a 12-point second-half deficit to two. Avery Warley then helped Liberty hang on for a 58-54 win, making four free throws, grabbing two rebounds and blocking a shot during the contest's final 85 seconds. The redshirt junior center finished with a game-high 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Liberty also enters Saturday's matinee on a season-best eight-game overall winning streak, an eight-game road winning streak and a 14-game conference road winning streak.
Tolu Omotola has been a key player in the last three games for the Lady Flames, averaging 16.0 ppg. She has especially picked up her play during the second half. In the second half of the last three contests, the redshirt sophomore forward is averaging 11.7 ppg on 68.4 percent (13-of-19) field goal shooting and 81.8 percent (9-of-11) foul shooting.
Most recently, Omotola scored 13 of her career-high 19 points during the final 20 minutes of Liberty's 66-50 win at Radford last Saturday. The first time Omotola faced Coastal Carolina this year, she went for 10 points and six rebounds.
Coastal Carolina has dropped two straight games but will look for a victory on Senior Day, its next-to-last home game inside Kimbel Arena. One of the Chanticleers' seniors, Sydnei Moss, paces the team in both points (11.4 ppg) and rebounds (7.6 rpg).
Moss had 11 points, including a trio of second-half three-pointers during Coastal Carolina's loss at the Vines Center on Jan. 22. Liberty will attempt to keep her in check Saturday and continue a recent trend.
During its last six games, Liberty has done a nice job of neutralizing its opponents' top scorer, including Winthrop's Dequesha McClanahan, Gardner-Webb's Monique Hudson, High Point's Shamia Brown and Radford's Da'Naria Erwin Spencer.
Those players are averaging just 6.0 ppg versus the Lady Flames over the last six contests, while shooting only 19.4 percent (13-of-67) from the field.
Finally, Saturday's game will be the 200th contest that Carey Green has coached against a Big South Conference opponent during his 12 seasons with the Lady Flames. Somewhat fittingly, it will be played against his alma mater, Coastal Carolina.
Green's teams have been victorious more than 91 percent of the time against Big South opponents, going 182-17. His squads have also won the Big South Women's Basketball Championship on 10 occasions.
A Carey Green-coached Liberty team has never lost to current Big South members Coastal Carolina (26-0), Charleston Southern (26-0) and Presbyterian College (6-0).