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2012-13 Women's Hoops Outlook: Team Overview
As the Liberty women's basketball team prepares for its season opener at Duquesne Friday night, LibertyFlames.com will present a four-part preview of the 2012-13 season. Today's article provides a general overview of this year's team.
When the opening tip goes up in the air for Liberty's 2012-13 women's basketball season opener at Duquesne on Friday, Lady Flames Head Coach Carey Green will not only be thinking about his team's formidable opponent in that night's game, but also looking four months ahead and four states to the south.
The 2013 Big South Women's Basketball Championship title game will be played almost exactly four months after the Duquesne tilt, on March 10 in Conway, S.C., and Green hopes his team will be playing for its 15th championship in the last 17 years that day.
"We're going to begin the season with the end in mind, understanding that there will be some huge challenges as we develop individual skills, team concepts and chemistry," explained Green, who is entering his 14th season as Liberty's head coach.
Green knows that his team will be challenged to remain atop the Big South Conference and fashioned a daunting early-season schedule accordingly. The Lady Flames will only play one home game during an imposing opening five weeks, which feature contests at the last two NCAA Division I national champions (Texas A&M and Baylor), an appearance in the Preseason WNIT, a game at 2012 Postseason WNIT runner-up James Madison and the start of Big South Conference play at Radford.
"With some early on-the-road competition such as the Preseason WNIT, Texas A&M and Baylor, we will have the opportunity to develop and grow," Green noted.
Although Liberty boasts some experience on its 2012-13 team, with three returning starters and five total seniors, half of the players on its 16-person roster did not see the court for the Lady Flames a year ago. Four players received redshirts, while four new freshmen have been added to the mix.
Devon Brown, a 5-10 redshirt senior wing player, highlights Liberty's returners. She is a three-time first team All-Big South honoree and already ranks sixth in program history with 1,441 career points.
The Lady Flames' other two returning starters include the Big South Conference's 10th-leading rebounder in 2011-12 (6-3 redshirt senior post Tolu Omotola) and the 2012 VaSID State Rookie of the Year (5-7 sophomore point guard Reagan Miller).
Omotola is one of five Lady Flames who stand 6-2 or taller, while Brown has corralled 596 career rebounds. As a result, rebounding is expected to be a team strength once again in 2012-13, despite the graduation of the program's all-time leading rebounder, Avery Warley. A year ago, Liberty topped the nation in rebound margin at +15.6.
The Lady Flames should also benefit from significantly more depth in the backcourt this season than the squad enjoyed in 2011-12. Veteran sharpshooter Brittany Campbell and 2010-11 starting point guard Emily Frazier both return from redshirt seasons, while all four incoming freshmen are perimeter players.
As always, one of the team's greatest challenges will be meshing the veteran players with the newcomers and developing strong team chemistry along the way.
"We want to see solid character developed as we go through this process," stated Green. "Unfortunately, this does not happen overnight. It takes experience and a process to achieve success."