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WBB Game Day Central: No. 3/3 Baylor
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Broadcast - Tip-Off:
8 p.m. Eastern at Baylor
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Liberty (2-2) will close out its Thanksgiving week Texas trip Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern, when the Lady Flames travel to the Ferrell Center in Waco to face defending national champion No. 3/3 Baylor (4-1). The Lady Flames will look to bounce back from a 70-55 loss at No. 24 Texas A&M on Tuesday.
The "Starting Five" - Today's Top Storylines
1) Liberty is just the ninth NCAA Division I women's basketball team ever to face the last two seasons' national champions in back-to-back games, playing at Texas A&M and Baylor this week.
2) Baylor will be the 41st nationally ranked opponent Liberty has ever faced and the second in four days. The Lady Flames will be in search of their first win over a Top 25 team since defeating No. 17 DePaul 88-79 on March 22, 2005 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
3) This week's road trip is a Homecoming for Liberty's quartet of Texas natives -- Sadalia Ellis (Houston), Emily Frazier (Magnolia), Reagan Miller (Sanger) and Tolu Omotola (Houston). Liberty has more Texans on this year's roster than players from any other single state.
4) This will be the first time Liberty has played the reigning national champion since the Lady Flames lost to Tennessee 102-58 in the opening round of the 1998 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship.
5) Liberty will play at Baylor for the second time in the last three seasons.
Liberty vs. Baylor At a Glance
Series Record: Baylor leads, 1-0
Previous Meeting: Baylor 81, Liberty 42 (Nov. 26, 2010 at Baylor)
Liberty Head Coach: Carey Green
Overall Record (Seasons): 312-105 (14th Season)
Record at Liberty (Seasons): Same
Record vs. Baylor: 0-1
Baylor Head Coach: Kim Mulkey
Overall Record (Seasons): 342-80 (13th Season)
Record at Baylor (Seasons): Same
Record vs. Liberty: 1-0
Notes and Anecdotes
• Liberty faced Baylor for the first time on Nov. 26, 2010 at the Ferrell Center, losing by an 81-42 score. Brittney Griner led Baylor with a then career-high 35 points, nine rebounds and seven blocked shots. Texas native Emily Frazier scored a team-high eight points for the Lady Flames and was later named Big South Freshman of the Week.
• Baylor went 40-0 and captured the 2012 NCAA Division I women's basketball national title. This will be the second time Liberty has faced the reigning national champion. The Lady Flames met Tennessee in the first round of the 1998 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship, losing 102-58.
• Liberty and Baylor both have more Texas natives on the roster than players from any other state. The Lady Flames boast four Texans (Sadalia Ellis, Emily Frazier, Reagan Miller and Tolu Omotola), while Baylor has seven players who hail from the Lone Star State.
• Stanford halted Baylor's 42-game winning streak with a 71-69 victory on Nov. 16. Liberty has a Stanford connection, as director of operations Sarah Boruta spent three years (2008-09 through 2010-11) on the Cardinal staff.
• Liberty and Baylor were two of the nation's top five rebounding teams last season, with the Lady Flames ranking No. 1 nationally (+15.6) and the Lady Bears finishing at No. 5 (+11.3).
• Baylor's Ferrell Center has a very similar exterior look to Liberty's Vines Center, although the Ferrell Center's dome is gold while the Vines Center features a silver dome. The Ferrell Center was completed in 1988, two years before the Vines Center opened its doors.
• Baylor's Kim Mulkey and Liberty's Carey Green are both among the nation's top active NCAA Division I coaches in winning percentage.
Liberty vs. the Big 12
Record vs. Current Conference Members: 3-4
Carey Green's Record vs. Current Conference Members: 3-3
Current Streak: Big 12 teams have won the last two meetings.
Last Meeting: Oklahoma 76, Liberty 45 (Nov. 25, 2011 at Vanderbilt)
Liberty's Last Win: Liberty 77, Kansas State 56 (Dec. 4, 2004 at Kansas State)
Note: Two of Liberty's victories over current Big 12 teams came against West Virginia, before the Mountaineers joined the conference.
Liberty Versus the Top 25
Baylor is currently ranked No. 3 in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and the AP Top 25.
• The Bears will be the 41st nationally ranked opponent Liberty has ever faced and the second in a row, after the Lady Flames lost at No. 24 Texas A&M, 70-55, on Tuesday.
• The last time Liberty played back-to-back games against nationally ranked teams came on Nov. 22 and 26, 2010. The Lady Flames lost to No. 8/8 Texas A&M by an 81-49 score, four days before they lost 81-42 at No. 2/3 Baylor.
• The Lady Flames are 4-36 all-time against Top 25 foes. Here are Liberty's four victories.
Nov. 26, 2002 - 77-69 (OT) win over No. 23 Virginia in Lynchburg, Va.
Dec. 4, 2004 - 77-56 win over No. 17/19 Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan.
March 20, 2005 - 78-70 win over No. 22/25 Penn State in College Park, Md. (NCAA)
March 22, 2005 - 88-79 win over No. 17 DePaul in College Park, Md. (NCAA)
Friday's game will mark the third straight year Liberty has faced a nationally ranked team from the Big 12 Conference the day after Thanksgiving. The Lady Flames lost to Baylor 81-42 in 2010 and Oklahoma by a 76-45 score a year ago. Liberty has lost three straight "Black Friday" games since a 92-52 win over McNeese State on Nov. 23, 2007.
A Look Back at Liberty's Loss at No. 24 Texas A&M
• No. 24 Texas A&M picked up its first win of the 2012-13 season Tuesday evening at Reed Arena, defeating Liberty, 70-55.
• It was the Lady Flames' second game against the Aggies in the last three seasons and was much more competitive than the teams' last meeting. Eventual national champion Texas A&M defeated Liberty, 81-49, on Nov. 22, 2010.
• This time around, the Lady Flames led by as many as six points in the first half and were still within seven with 11:23 to play in the game.
• The key stat of the game was points off turnovers. Texas A&M scored 29 points off of 22 Liberty miscues.
• The Aggies also became the first team to shoot 50 percent from the field against Liberty since St. John's did so on Dec. 28, 2010, a span of 58 games.
• Texas A&M was the first team to outrebound Liberty this season, posting a 35-30 edge on the glass.
• Devon Brown led the Lady Flames with a season-high 23 points. That made her the fifth player in program history and the 19th player in Big South history to score 1,500 career points.
• It was only the second time Liberty has ever lost when Brown scores 20 or more points. The Lady Flames are now 21-2 in the redshirt senior's 23 career 20-point outbursts.
• Playing in her home state of Texas, Emily Frazier fell one assist (7) shy of her career high and also one rebound (5) shy in 23 effective minutes off the bench.
• Brittany Campbell scored a season-high eight points for the Lady Flames.
Tough Texas Two-Step
This week, Liberty will become the ninth NCAA Division I women's basketball team ever to play each of the past two seasons' national champions in back-to-back games, when the Lady Flames travel to Texas A&M (Tuesday) and Baylor (Friday).
• The last team to do so was Stanford, which hosted Tennessee on Dec. 19, 2009 and traveled to Connecticut four days later. Current Liberty director of operations Sarah Boruta was a video intern for the Cardinal that year.
• Liberty will be the first team ever to play the last two national champions in back-to-back games on the national champions' home court.
• The other teams to face back-to-back national champions include Ohio State (1983), USC (1986), Long Beach State (1986), Seton Hall (2002), Tennessee (2002-03), Villanova (2003) and Oklahoma (2007).
Thanks to Liberty Athletics Communications Graduate Assistant Dwayne Groff for his assistance in researching this note.