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Lady Flames to Meet North Carolina in NCAA 1st Round

March 16, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Big South champion Liberty has earned the No. 13 seed in the Greensboro Region of the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship and will meet No. 4 seed North Carolina in the opening round. The contest will be played Saturday at 11 a.m. at Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The winner of the Liberty-North Carolina clash will face the victor of Saturday's meeting between No. 5 seed Ohio State and No. 12 seed James Madison. The second-round game is slated for next Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Carmichael Arena.

The Lady Flames (26-6, 19-1 Big South) earned their 16th trip to the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship in the last 19 years with a 74-64 victory over High Point in the title game of the Big South Women's Basketball Championship on March 8. Liberty is returning to the tournament after a one-year absence from postseason play in 2014.

Liberty is seeded No. 13 for the seventh time in 16 NCAA Tournament appearances. Ten years ago, the Lady Flames reached the Sweet 16 as a No. 13 seed, after victories over Penn State and DePaul.

Liberty has won a season-high 14 games in a row overall since a 63-58 setback at Winthrop on Jan. 20 and is 20-1 in its last 21 outings. The Lady Flames' 19 conference victories set a new Big South record for most conference wins in a single-season.

The Lady Flames' balanced attack is headlined by 6-4 redshirt junior post player Ashley Rininger (12.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg) and 5-7 redshirt junior guard Karly Buer (11.5 ppg). Rininger was tabbed Big South Championship MVP and a first team All-Big South honoree, while Buer was a second team All-Big South selection.

North Carolina (24-8, 10-6 ACC) finished sixth in the ACC regular-season standings and reached the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. Head coach Sylvia Hatchell's Tar Heels, one of eight ACC squads to make the NCAA field this season, are ranked No. 12 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 15 in the AP Top 25.

Two Tar Heels score in double figures, including 6-0 sophomore guard Allisha Gray (15.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg), 6-3 sophomore forward Stephanie Mavunga (14.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg). Gray and Mavunga were both first team All-ACC performers.

Saturday's game will be the third all-time hardwood meeting between the Lady Flames and Tar Heels. North Carolina is 2-0 against Liberty, with both victories coming at Carmichael Arena. The Tar Heels posted an 87-36 victory on Nov. 21, 2005 and an 88-67 win on Dec. 30, 2007.

The contest against North Carolina will mark the Lady Flames' first-ever matchup with an ACC opponent in NCAA Tournament play. It will also be the first time Liberty has ever played an NCAA Tournament tilt in North Carolina.

Single-session tickets for the general public are available for $6 each through the Flames Ticket Office.  The tickets for Saturday are for both NCAA Tournament games: Liberty vs. North Carolina and Ohio State vs. James Madison. The deadline for ordering tickets through Liberty is Thursday at 6 p.m. After that, tickets may be purchased through the North Carolina ticket office.

Tickets may be picked up before 6 p.m. Friday. After that, they will be available at Liberty will call at Carmichael Arena.

A Liberty student travel package is available for $5 per student that includes transportation, box lunch and game ticket.  Students must purchase the package through the myLU portal. 

Additional ticket information will be available throughout the NCAA Tournament at LibertyFlames.com.  The Flames Ticket Office can be contacted (434) 582-SEAT (7328) or tickets@liberty.edu