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Lady Flames Set for BSC Lid-Lifter Friday
Game Day Central
No. 1 seed Liberty (20-9, 14-2 Big South) will begin its quest for its fourth consecutive Big South Women's Basketball Championship title Friday at noon, when the Lady Flames meet No. 8 seed Coastal Carolina (10-18, 4-12 Big South) in the tournament opener.
The winner of the Liberty-Coastal Carolina matchup will move on to a semifinal contest versus either No. 4 seed High Point or No. 5 seed Charleston Southern Saturday at 4 p.m. The tournament championship game is slated for 4 p.m. on Sunday. The entire tournament will be played at the Millis Center in High Point, N.C.
Liberty has won 35 consecutive meetings with Coastal Carolina, increasing its all-time lead in the head-to-head series to 45-7. 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 is 6-0 against Coastal Carolina in the Big South Women's Basketball Championship, with all six victories coming when the Lady Flames were seeded higher than the Chanticleers. Three times (1999, 2000 & 2002), Liberty defeated Coastal Carolina for the conference title.
The two teams last met in the conference tournament on March 8, 2003, in a semifinal tilt at the Vines Center. Liberty, which got 20 points from Kristal Tharp and 18 more from Katie Feenstra, was able to overcome Nikki Reddick's 28 points in a 78-68 win.
This year, Liberty hung on for a 58-54 home decision over the Chanticleers on Jan. 24, before posting a dominant 64-44 triumph at Coastal Carolina on Feb. 26.
During this season's home victory by the Lady Flames, Coastal Carolina cut a 12-point second-half deficit to two. However, Avery Warley made four free throws, pulled down two rebounds and blocked a shot during the final 85 seconds to help stave off the Chanticleers' upset bid.
Warley and Devon Brown will lead the Lady Flames, as they shoot for a 14th Big South Championship title in the last 15 years. Warley just won her fourth Big South Player of the Week award this season and enters the tournament 40 points shy of 1,000 for her career.
Brown averaged 21.3 ppg and 7.7 rpg last season in the Big South Championship and hit the game-winning shot with 4.2 seconds remaining in the title contest against Gardner-Webb.
Meanwhile, senior guard Sydnei Moss is Coastal Carolina's leader. She is posting a team-high 11.8 ppg and 7.7 rpg this season. Last year, Moss averaged 22.5 ppg in the Chanticleers' pair of Big South Championship contests.
Liberty is 16-3 all-time in its opening game of the Big South Championship. The Lady Flames have won 14 straight openers, since losing to UNC Greensboro, 84-40, in the first round of the 1996 tournament.
Additionally, the Lady Flames own a 36-0 record all-time in the Big South Championship, when the Lady Flames are seeded higher than their opponents.