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WBB Game Day Central: No. 3 Seed Tennessee

March 14, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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WBB Game Day Central: No. 3 Seed Tennessee

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Game Time:
Friday - 2:30 p.m.

TV Coverage:
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Brenda VanLengen
Color Analyst: Carol Ross

Radio Coverage:
Liberty Flames Sports Network - Radio
WQLU 90.9 FM The Light
Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Jamie Hall

The Starting 5 - Liberty's Top Storylines
• The Big South regular-season and tournament champion, No. 14 seed Liberty (24-9, 16-2 Big South) tips off its 17th NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship appearance at No. 3 seed Tennessee (24-7, 11-5 SEC) Friday at 2:30 p.m.

• The Lady Flames are playing in the NCAA Tournament for 17th time in 22 seasons but for the first time since 2015. Sheana Vega is the only current Lady Flame who was part of the 2015 squad.

• Liberty's first game at Tennessee in 20 years will be a homecoming of sorts for head coach Carey Green, a native of nearby Louisville, Tenn. Green is taking the Lady Flames to the NCAA Tournament for the 14th time in 19 seasons as head coach.

Keyen Green was voted Liberty's first Big South Player of the Year since 2009. She leads the Lady Flames in scoring (13.0 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg).

Ashtyn Baker made it back-to-back Big South Freshmen of the Year for the Lady Flames, following Green's honor in 2017. Baker was named Tennessee Miss Basketball a year ago as a senior at Northpoint Christian.

Series History vs. Tennessee
Overall: Tennessee leads, 1-0
Streak: Tennessee W1
In NCAA Tournament: Tennessee leads, 1-0
At Tennessee: Tennessee leads, 1-0
Carey Green vs. Tennessee: 0-0
Previous Meeting: at Tennessee 102, Liberty 58, 3/14/98

Liberty's only previous meeting with Tennessee came in the first round of the 1998 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship and was the first matchup of undefeated teams in tournament history. The Lady Vols went on to claim their sixth national championship.

Notes and Anecdotes - Liberty vs. Tennessee
• Liberty is making its 17th NCAA Tournament appearance in 22 years, while Tennessee continues its unprecedented streak of playing in all 37 NCAA Tournaments since the first tournament was contested in 1982.

• Liberty is seeded No. 14 for the fifth time, following the Lady Flames' appearances in 1999, 2000, 2004 and 2009. A No. 14 seed has never won a game in tournament history.

• Tennessee is 56-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament games played in Knoxville, including 22-0 in the first round. The Lady Flames are seeking their first true road win in the NCAA Tournament, as they are 0-10 when playing on their opponent's home court.

• Liberty went 0-4 against members of the NCAA Tournament field this season, fallling to Michigan, Drake, Northern Colorado and Duke. Tennessee posted an 8-6 record versus this year's NCAA field.

• The Lady Flames rank No. 7 nationally for scoring defense (53.7 ppg) and have held 17 straight opponents below 60 points. Meanwhile, Tennessee owns the nation's No. 28 scoring offense at 77.5 ppg.

• Liberty's +9.2 rebound margin ranks No. 14 nationally, while Tennessee sits at No. 17 with a +8.6 margin. The Lady Flames are 23-4 when winning the rebounding battle but only 1-5 when being outrebounded.

On This Date
• Liberty is 1-3 all-time when playing on March 16, including 0-2 in the NCAA Tournament.

• The Lady Flames suffered NCAA Tournament first-round losses to SEC foes Georgia (77-48 in 2001) and South Carolina (69-61 in 2002) in consecutive years on March 16.

• Liberty is 75-48 all-time in March, including 67-23 under Carey Green and 4-0 this season.

Liberty in the Volunteer State
• Liberty will play in Tennessee for the first time since Nov. 25-26, 2011, when the Lady Flames lost to Oklahoma and defeated Lipscomb at the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament.

• Liberty Head Coach Carey Green claims Louisville, Tenn., as his hometown, situated just 15 miles southwest of Knoxville. He earned a master's degree in science education from Tennessee in 1981.

• Liberty freshman point guard Ashtyn Baker was the 2017 Tennessee Miss Basketball for Division II-A despite living in Nesbit, Miss., just outside Memphis.

• Liberty Director of Player Development Dan Lumpkin won 337 games coaching at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tenn.

Lady Flames vs. the SEC
• Liberty, facing its first SEC opponent of the 2017-18 season, is 1-17 all-time against conference foes, including 0-9 in NCAA Tournament games.

• The Lady Flames' previous NCAA matchups with SEC foes came in 1998 (102-58 loss to Tennessee), 1999 (73-52 loss to Georgia), 2000 (77-54 loss to LSU), 2001 (77-48 loss to Georgia), 2002 (69-61 loss to South Carolina), 2003 (54-44 loss to Vanderbilt), 2004 (78-53 loss to Georgia), 2005 (90-48 loss to LSU) and 2010 (83-77 loss to Kentucky).

• Liberty's lone SEC victory was an 80-76 triumph at Kentucky on Dec. 12, 1998. The Lady Flames' last SEC matchup resulted in an 84-44 setback to No. 1/1 South Carolina in Minneapolis, Minn., on Dec. 21, 2014.

Liberty vs. the Top 25
• Liberty will face its third Top 25 opponent of the season, following losses to No. 24/23 Michigan (Nov. 12) and No. 14/15 Duke (Dec. 29).

• The Lady Flames have lost 27 straight meetings with Top 25 foes since its 88-79 victory over No. 16/16 DePaul on March 22, 2005. The most recent of Liberty's two all-time NCAA Tournament wins, the victory over the Blue Demons was the Lady Flames' fourth Top 25 victory in program history and marked the highest-ranked opponent Liberty has defeated.

Finishing Strongly
• Liberty came back from an eight-point deficit to defeat UNC Asheville in Sunday's Big South Championship title game, marking the fifth time this season the Lady Flames have been victorious after trailing by eight or more points.

• The Lady Flames are outscoring opponents in the fourth quarter this season by an average of 5.5 points per game and are 7-8 when losing or tied at halftime.

Reversal of Fortune
• The 2016-17 Lady Flames finished at 13-17, posting the team's first sub-.500 record since 1995-96. Liberty's 24-9 record thus far in 2017-18 represents the team's second-biggest single-season turnaround in program history.

• The 1996-97 Liberty squad went 22-8 and made the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance, one year after finishing 5-22.

Winning Combination
• Through Sunday's games, Liberty ranks No. 7 nationally for scoring defense (53.7 ppg) and No. 14 for rebound margin (+9.2).

• The only other two teams which rank in the top 15 for both categories are UConn and Green Bay.