Game Day Central Liberty's Game Notes Game Time: 2 p.m. Official Tipoff: 2:02 p.m.
TV Coverage: ESPN3 Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Kevin Burke Color Commentator: Chuckie Brown Radio Coverage: Liberty Flames Sports Network – Radio WQLU 90.9 FM The Light Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Jamie Hall
Today's Game Liberty (5-11, 4-1 Big South) will travel to UNC Asheville (8-8, 2-3 Big South) Saturday for a rematch of the teams' epic 2016 Big South Women's Basketball Championship title game. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Kimmel Arena, the site of that memorable encounter between the Lady Flames and Bulldogs.
The "Starting Five" - Liberty's Top Storylines 1) Liberty's team looks much different than the one which squared off with Asheville last March. Five of the Lady Flames' top six scorers are freshmen and only one current player (KK Barbour) appeared in the 2016 Big South title game. Yet the Lady Flames are currently tied for second place in the Big South standings at 4-1, one game out of first.
2) Liberty will begin a difficult stretch of its Big South schedule on Saturday, which includes visits to Asheville, Radford and Campbell among its next four contests. The Lady Flames are just 1-8 away from Lynchburg this season. They are 3-3 versus Asheville at Kimmel Arena, including an 0-2 mark last season.
3) Three-point shooting and rebounding have been key to the Lady Flames' fast start in Big South play. Liberty is averaging 9.6 triples per game, while shooting at a 42.9 percent clip from beyond the arc. The Lady Flames' Big South rebound margin is +17.8.
4) The Lady Flames have featured a different leading scorer during each of their first five Big South games, including Lela Sellers (CSU), Keyen Green (HPU), Iva Ilic (PC), KK Barbour (GWU) and Sheana Vega (Longwood).
5) Keyen Green, the three-time reigning Big South Freshman of the Week, leads the Big South and ranks No. 2 nationally among freshmen with 8.9 rpg.
Liberty vs. UNC Asheville at a Glance Series History Series Record: Liberty leads, 52-10. Current Streak: UNC Asheville has won two consecutive meetings. Series Record at UNC Asheville: Liberty leads, 20-8. Current Streak at UNC Asheville: UNC Asheville has won two consecutive meetings. Last Meeting Overall: Asheville 64, Liberty 62 (2OT) (March 13, 2016 at Asheville) Last Meeting at UNC Asheville: Same Liberty's Last Series Victory: Liberty 71, UNC Asheville 53 (Jan. 4, 2016 at Liberty) Liberty's Last Series Victory at Asheville: Liberty 67, Asheville 55 (Dec. 30, 2014)
Coaching Matchup Liberty Head Coach: Carey Green Overall Record (Seasons): 408-152 (18th Season) Record at Liberty (Seasons): Same Record vs. UNC Asheville: 37-4
UNC Asheville Head Coach: Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick Overall Record (Seasons): 56-85 (Fifth Season) Record at UNC Asheville (Seasons): Same Record vs. Liberty: 3-7
Notes and Anecdotes • The last time Liberty and UNC Asheville met at Kimmel Arena, the Bulldogs won an epic 2016 Big South Women's Basketball Championship title game, 64-62 in double overtime, March 13, 2016.
• The only current Lady Flame who appeared in that game was KK Barbour, who played four scoreless minutes. Moreover, Joy Tharrington has switched benches since that time. After serving two seasons (2014-15 and 2015-16) as a graduate assistant at Liberty, Tharrington is now in her first year as an assistant coach at UNC Asheville.
• Liberty is 20-8 all-time when facing the Bulldogs in Asheville. However, the Lady Flames are only 3-3 against Asheville at Kimmel Arena, including 0-2 last season.
• Something will have to give on Saturday, as Liberty is just 1-8 away from the Vines Center this season while Asheville has dropped two of its three Big South home games.
• Saturday's game will pit the Big South's top two rebounders against one another, in Liberty freshman Keyen Green (8.9 rpg) and Asheville senior KJ Weaver (8.1 rpg).
• Coming off of its 2016 Big South regular-season and tournament titles, UNC Asheville was the preseason favorite to repeat as conference champions in 2016-17. However, the Bulldogs have been hit hard by the injury bug and are currently tied for sixth in the conference standings at 2-3.
On This Date Liberty is 7-2 all-time on Jan. 21, including 4-1 in Big South contests.
A Tough Road Ahead Liberty, which is just 1-8 when playing away from the Vines Center this season, is entering a difficult stretch of its schedule. Three of the Lady Flames' next four games are on the road against upper-echelon Big South opponents. The stretch begins Saturday with a visit to defending Big South champion and preseason favorite UNC Asheville. Three days later, Liberty will head to Radford to face the conference-leading Highlanders. Following a Jan. 28 home meeting with Winthrop, the Lady Flames will close out the challenging series of games at Campbell on Jan. 31. The Camels are currently tied with Liberty for second place in the Big South standings and lead the nation in scoring defense.
Spreading the Wealth The Lady Flames have displayed a diversified scoring attack during Big South play. Liberty has put four or more players into double figures in four of the first five conference games. Additionally, the Lady Flames have featured a different leading scorer in each Big South game thus far, including Lela Sellers at CSU, Keyen Green vs. High Point, Iva Ilic vs. Presbyterian, KK Barbour at Gardner-Webb and Sheana Vega vs. Longwood.
Shooting Stars Liberty shot an impressive 57.1 percent (12-of-21) from three-point range at Charleston Southern on Jan. 3, tying the 26-year-old program record for most three-pointers made in a single game. On Tuesday, the Lady Flames knocked down 11 triples against Longwood, equaling the most Liberty has ever hit in a game at the Vines Center. Liberty has shot extremely well from long range in Big South play, averaging 9.6 triples per game at a 42.9 percent clip.
A Look Back at the Lady Flames' 92-47 Home Win Over Longwood on Tuesday • Liberty bounced back from its first Big South Conference loss of the season in a big way, Tuesday evening at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames posted a season-high scoring outburst in a 92-47 victory over Longwood, achieving Head Coach Carey Green's 200th career win at the Vines Center.
• Green, who is now 200-35 all-time at home, saw all 14 of his players score points, paced by junior Sheana Vega's career-high 14 markers and four three-pointers.
• The Lady Flames, who never trailed, shot a season-high 52.2 percent (35-of-67) from the field, including 11 triples. They also racked up a season-best 53 bench points on the night, led by Vega's 14 and Nene Johnson's 10 tallies.
New Year's Resolution After averaging 54.9 ppg on 32.5 percent from the field and 24.5 percent from three-point range in 11 2016 contests, the Lady Flames have exploded for 80.8 ppg on 44.7 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc in 2017's first five outings.
What Can Green Do For You? Keyen Green headlines the Lady Flames' successful freshman class. The Big South Freshman of the Week on Dec. 5, Jan. 2, Jan. 9 and Jan. 16, Green leads the conference and ranks No. 2 among the nation's freshmen in rebounding at 8.9 rpg. In her last 11 games, Green has recorded six double-doubles and three 20-point outings. She is the first Lady Flame since Reagan Miller in 2011-12 to win three straight Big South Freshman of the Week honors and four in one season.
Fantastic Freshmen Liberty's seven freshmen have combined to score 60.8 percent of the team's points this season, led by Keyen Green's team-high 12.0 ppg. Five of the Lady Flames' top six scorers on the year are freshmen.
Winning the Battle of the Boards Liberty has outrebounded 12 of its last 14 opponents, including eight games of 20+ offensive rebounds. The Lady Flames currently rank No. 1 nationally with 19.6 offensive boards per game and No. 14 with a +9.9 rebound margin.
The Container is Half Full The Lady Flames are 107-1 under head coach Carey Green when making at least 50 percent of their field goals, including 2-0 this season. Liberty has won the last 34 times it has shot 50 percent or better, since an 83-77 loss to Kentucky in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship (March 20, 2010).
The Container is Half Empty Duke shot 52.2 percent (36-of-69) from the field against Liberty on Nov. 11, becoming one of only three opponents in the last 113 games to make at least half of its field goal attempts against the Lady Flames. Player Trends #3 Nene Johnson • Celebrated her 21st birthday on Thursday (Jan. 19)
• Leads the team and ranks sixth in the Big South with 2.9 apg, while also pacing the Lady Flames in steals (1.1 spg)
• Averaging 11.6 ppg during the first five Big South games, as compared with 5.3 ppg in non-conference play
• After shooting 11.1 percent (1-of-9) from three-point range during the season's first 10 games, has made 58.3 percent (7-of-12) in the last six outings #4 Tatyana Crowder • 2016-17 team captain
• Made her first career three-pointer and tallied a career-high two assists during Tuesday's victory over Longwood #10 Kierra Johnson-Graham • Paced the team with seven rebounds against Longwood on Tuesday
• Has connected on 11 of her last 12 free throw attempts over the last two games
• Has collected five or more rebounds in 10 of her last 14 outings #12 Audrey Rettstatt • 2016-17 team captain
• The lone senior on this year's roster
• Has scored more points this season (78) than she did in her first three years combined (60) #14 Lela Sellers • Leads the team in minutes played (28.1 mpg)
• Averaging 8.6 ppg in her last seven games, while shooting 42.9 percent (12-of-28) from three-point range and 73.7 percent (14-of-19) from the foul line #20 Sheana Vega • 2016-17 team captain
• Scored a team-high and career-high 14 points against Longwood on Tuesday, more than doubling her previous career high of six points. She went 4-of-6 from three-point range, equaling the number of three-pointers she had made during her first 50 career games. Vega also matched her career high of five rebounds against the Lancers. #21 Keyen Green • Four-time Big South Freshman of the Week (Dec. 5, Jan. 2, Jan. 9 & Jan. 16)
• Ranks No. 2 nationally among freshmen for rebounding (8.9 rpg) and No. 17 nationally overall for offensive rebounding (4.3 rpg)
• Tops the Big South in rebounding and offensive rebounding
• Leads the Lady Flames and ranks eighth in the Big South in scoring (12.0 ppg), after scoring in double figures in each of the last eight contests
• During the first five Big South games, Green is averaging 15.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg and 1.8 bpg, while shooting 67.4 percent (29-of-43) from the field and posting three double-doubles. #24 Iva Ilic • Leads the team with 21 three-pointers, including a career-high four triples against Presbyterian on Jan. 10
• Ranks ninth in the Big South (first among freshmen) with 2.5 apg, aided by 18 assists over her last four games
• Averaging 8.6 ppg in conference play, aided by her 47.6 percent (10-of-21) three-point shooting #30 KK Barbour • The only current Lady Flame who appeared in the 2016 Big South Women's Basketball Championship title game against UNC Asheville, Barbour played four scoreless minutes that day.
• After failing to score in double figures during her first 37 career games, Barbour has posted three straight double-digit efforts. Her latest was a 12-point, six-rebound performance against Longwood on Tuesday.
• Has hit eight straight free throws during the last three games and is shooting a team-best 73.9 percent from the line this season
• Averaging 8.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg and 1.1 bpg in eight games since joining the starting lineup on Dec. 20
• Had not made a three-pointer during her first 33 career appearances, but is 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) from beyond the arc in her last seven games #35 Ola Makurat • Tied for second second on the team with 16 three-pointers, but saw her streak of six straight games with a made triple snapped on Jan. 10 against Presbyterian #40 Molly Reagan • Played 15 effective minutes during Tuesday's victory over Longwood, scoring eight points on 4-of-4 from the field, collecting four offensive rebounds and matching her career high of two assists
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