The Liberty women's basketball team got its first look at the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday, visiting the state-of-the-art facility for a press conference and 90-minute practice.
The Lady Flames also stopped by Churchill Downs and completed their preparation for Sunday's contest against Purdue. Tipoff is slated for 12:10 p.m., and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
The following are some highlights from the press conference.
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green "We feel like every year, there's a lot of pressure for us to win our conference and get into the Big Dance. To be able to do that is an accomplishment for us, and I'm very thankful that I've got some great senior leadership this year. Some of them have been through some battles together, but we've persevered and have this opportunity. We're really excited to enter into March Madness.
"Typically you find a team has certain weaknesses and this Purdue team is very well balanced. As they got into conference play, they took care of the ball very well. They executed their offenses and let things work for themselves, and that got them a conference championship. They're a hot team that can do a lot of things very, very well. We'll probably try to take two or three things away from them and see if that's going to be enough to win the game.
"We joke all the time. I may ask the players a question and they know they get half credit if they say either ‘Jesus' or ‘rebound.' It may not even be anywhere close but if they say ‘Jesus' and ‘rebound' they'll get half credit. We can joke about it but it's real. Those things are real to us and it's got a tradition. … If you've got that legacy or tradition, it's easy to keep if you put emphasis on it."
Liberty Senior Brittany Campbell "Coach Green's middle name is ‘Rebound,' so that is his M.O., that is our M.O. and that is our identity. We take pride in it and that's how we control the game. We go out there knowing that if we can outrebound teams, chances are pretty good for us."
Purdue Head Coach Sharon Versyp "They have great size. They bring in 6-5 and 6-4, and they start 6-3 and 6-2 –very athletic. Penn State has got all that size so we have gone against it. Obviously, they are a little bit different, but you can't always shoot over the top of them. You have to be able to turn and face and attack, try to use your speed and blow them away from the basket a little bit. And still attack even though they are playing zone. … Being in the Big Ten, there are a lot of big players. We have played against huge guards quite a bit and it just comes down to defending and rebounding and making sure we box out and do the right thing. They are not going to call over the back if you're not in great position. They have a great team. Liberty has got an inside-outside game and that's why they're here.
"I think one thing they do exceptionally well is average 17 more rebounds than their opponents and about 22 second-chance opportunities. Those are the two areas that we really have to focus on. We have to play great defense and can't allow them to make a lot of shots. We've got to be able to run so they don't just sit back in that 2-3 zone quite a bit. We've just got to be in that attack mode. I think that's the biggest thing. We can't just settle for outside shots."
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