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Liberty to Face Charlotte in WNIT Wednesday
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The Liberty women's basketball team will tip off its first-ever appearance in the Postseason Women's National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Wednesday, with a contest at Charlotte. Tipoff time at Halton Arena will be 7 p.m., it was announced on Tuesday.
The victor between the Lady Flames and 49ers will move on to the second round of the 64-team, single-elimination tournament and face the winner of Wednesday's Appalachian State at South Carolina tilt.
The Lady Flames (22-10, 14-2 Big South) just missed winning their 14th Advance Auto Parts Big South Women's Basketball Championship title, dropping a 67-66 decision to Gardner-Webb in Sunday's title game. However, as the Big South regular-season champion, Liberty earned the conference's automatic bid to the Postseason WNIT.
Liberty will match up with Charlotte (23-9, 9-5 A-10) for the first time in program history, but this will be the second consecutive year the 49ers have faced the Big South regular-season champion in their WNIT opener. Last season, Charlotte defeated Gardner-Webb by a 74-60 score in the first round of the WNIT, before falling to North Carolina A&T in the second round.
Charlotte also squared off with Big South foe High Point in the 2007 WNIT lid-lifter, defeating the Panthers, 72-45.
The Lady Flames will attempt to become just the second Big South squad ever to win a game in the WNIT. Radford won a pair of contests in the 1989 WNIT, claiming victories over Richmond and DePaul.
Liberty has won three straight games against Atlantic 10 Conference foes, including a 73-53 win over La Salle on Dec. 29 in the consolation game of the Terrapin Classic.
The 49ers are making their fourth straight postseason appearance under head coach Karen Aston. Shannon McCallum, a 5-10 senior guard, paces three Charlotte players in double figures with 12.5 ppg. She was a second team All-Atlantic 10 selection this season.
Although Wednesday's game will mark Liberty's Postseason WNIT debut, the Lady Flames have played in the Preseason WNIT three times (1999, 2003 & 2008). Liberty picked up its first Preseason WNIT victory on Nov. 21, 2008, in a consolation matchup with UC Riverside. Megan Frazee's buzzer-beating layup gave the Lady Flames a 45-44 win. Current Liberty players Kylee Beecher, Brittany Campbell, Rachel McLeod and Avery Warley all played in that game, with Warley contributing 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.