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WBB Game Day Central: Cavalier Classic

December 26, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Sophomore forward Kylee Beecher, who has started all eight games for the Lady Flames, is averaging 7.4 ppg.

Sophomore forward Kylee Beecher, who has started all eight games for the Lady Flames, is averaging 7.4 ppg.

Complete Game Notes (PDF format)

Live WWMC Radio Broadcast

Live Stats

Virginia Women's Basketball Webpage

Cornell Women's Basketball Webpage

Samford Women's Basketball Webpage

The Games
Liberty returns to action with its second tournament of the 2009-10 season, the Marriott Cavalier Classic, following a 13-day break from competition for Christmas. The two-day event at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va., features four teams which combined for 80 victories a season ago and all boast winning records thus far in 2009-10. Liberty will seek its second tournament title of the year, after winning the Navy Classic.

The Lady Flames (6-2, 0-0 Big South) will meet Ivy League foe Cornell (5-4, 0-0 Ivy) in the tournament's opening game, Monday at 4:30 p.m. No. 20/23 Virginia (7-3, 0-0 ACC) will then host Samford (8-4, 3-2 Southern) in the nightcap at 7 p.m. The two victors will square off for the Marriott Cavalier Classic championship Tuesday at 7 p.m., following the 4:30 p.m. consolation game.

Lady Flames On The Air
All Lady Flames basketball games may be heard LIVE on WWMC 90.9 FM "The Light." Jamie Hall, celebrating his 16th year of broadcasting Lady Flames basketball, is once again handling the courtside play-by-play duties for road games. Nick Pierce and Josh Wood serve as the primary commentators for home contests.

Scouting Cornell
Cornell is already halfway to equaling its win total from the 2008-09 season, after getting off to a 5-4 start. The Big Red have been victorious in four of their last six contests, entering the Marriott Cavalier Classic.

Cornell is an excellent three-point shooting squad. In the most recent NCAA statistical report, the Big Red ranked No. 6 nationally with a .431 three-point field goal percentage and sat No. 10 in the nation with 8.3 made triples per contest.

Three senior guards are scoring in double figures for the Big Red, paced by Allie Fedorowicz's 14.8 ppg. Virginia McMunigal chips in with 12.8 ppg and ranks No. 4 in the NCAA with a .543 three-point field goal percentage. Meanwhile, Lauren Benson posts 10.0 ppg and 6.4 apg (ranked No. 9 nationally).

The Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his 11th season with the Lady Flames, and has led his team to nine Big South titles. A five-time Big South Coach of the Year, Green owns a 243-79 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.755) ranked ninth all-time among NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the season's outset. Green is 1-0 versus Cornell.

Cornell is coached by Dayna Smith, who owns a 77-122 record in eight seasons as head coach. In 2007-08, she led the Big Red to their first-ever Ivy League championship. The second-winningest coach in program history, Smith is 0-1 all-time versus Liberty.

Liberty-Cornell Series Notes
Liberty is 1-1 all-time versus Cornell. The teams' most recent matchup was a memorable one, coming Dec. 30, 2003 in the championship game of the Lafayette Holiday Tournament in Easton, Pa.

The Lady Flames and Big Red were tied, 63-63, before Katie Feenstra scored on an inbounds play with 1.2 seconds remaining to give Liberty a dramatic, 65-63 victory and the tournament title. The game-winning hoop capped a 28-point, eight-rebound performance for Feenstra. Lauren Kilduff led Cornell with 20 points, six assists and four steals.

Liberty Versus the Ivy League
The Lady Flames are 2-2 versus the Ivy League in program history. In addition to Liberty's 1-1 mark against Cornell, the Lady Flames own a 1-0 record versus Dartmouth and are 0-1 against Harvard.

Liberty's last three games against Ivy League opponents have been decided by a total of 10 points. Thirty-one days prior to the Lady Flames' 65-63 win over Cornell at the 2003 Lafayette Holiday Tournament, Liberty dropped a 75-73, double overtime contest to Harvard at the Seminole Classic. The Lady Flames also defeated Dartmouth by a 75-69 count, Dec. 29, 1991.

Three of the Lady Flames' all-time contests against Ivy League foes have come in tournaments. Liberty defeated Ivy teams to claim titles at the 1991 Dartmouth Invitational and the 2003 Lafayette Holiday Tournament.

Scouting Samford
The Samford Bulldogs are 8-4 to start the 2009-10 season, after returning four starters from last year's 22-7 squad. The Bulldogs have already played five Southern Conference games, going 3-2 in conference play.

Samford and Liberty have faced one common opponent, UNC Greensboro. Samford lost to the Spartans by a 55-47 score in their most recent game, Dec. 21 at UNC Greensboro. Liberty claimed a 60-42 triumph over UNC Greensboro, Nov. 17 at the Vines Center.

Emily London, a 5-7 junior guard, is the team's leading scorer at 13.8 ppg. She was an All-Southern Conference performer in 2008-09. Savannah Hill, a 6-2 junior forward, averages 12.5 ppg.

The Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his 11th season with the Lady Flames, and has led his team to nine Big South titles. A five-time Big South Coach of the Year, Green owns a 243-79 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.755) ranked ninth all-time among NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the season's outset.

Mike Morris, the 2009 Southern Conference Coach of the Year, is 122-93 in his eighth season at Samford. He also won the 2006 Ohio Valley Coach of the Year award, after leading the Bulldogs to the first 20-win season in program history.

Liberty-Samford Series Notes
Liberty won its only previous meeting with Samford, 85-49, Nov. 21, 1997 in the opening game of the Lady Flames Classic at the Vines Center. Elena Kisseleva and Sharon Wilkerson scored 19 points apiece for the Lady Flames, while Sarah Wilkerson distributed 10 assists.

The game was Samford's second contest as a NCAA Division I women's basketball program. It also marked the first of Liberty's 28 consecutive victories to open the 1997-98 campaign. Samford's head coach was Janet Cone, who is now the Director of Athletics at Big South member UNC Asheville.

Liberty Versus the Southern Conference
Liberty has played 59 games against the current members of the Southern Conference, going 28-31. The Lady Flames are 0-2 versus Appalachian State, 2-1 versus College of Charleston, 2-0 versus Davidson, 11-3 versus Elon, 0-1 versus Furman, 0-2 versus Georgia Southern, 1-0 versus Samford, 6-14 versus UNC Greensboro, 3-8 versus Western Carolina and 3-0 versus Wofford.

The Lady Flames are 1-0 versus Southern Conference opponents this season. Devon Brown's 26 points helped Liberty defeat UNC Greensboro, 60-42, Nov. 17 at the Vines Center.

Tournament Success
Both Liberty and Samford have already won tournaments this season. The Lady Flames took the Navy Classic, while the Bulldogs won the UAB Thanksgiving Classic.

Scouting Virginia
The 7-3 Virginia Cavaliers have been ranked in the Top 25 of both major polls throughout the 2009-10 season. Virginia currently sits No. 20 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 and No. 23 in the AP Top 25 poll.

The Cavaliers and Lady Flames have faced one common opponent, James Madison. The Dukes defeated Liberty at the Vines Center, 60-50 on Dec. 1. Five days later, JMU handed Virginia a 75-73 setback at John Paul Jones Arena.

Monica Wright, a 5-11 guard, is Virginia's only senior and the Cavaliers' standout player. A preseason first-team All-American, Wright ranks No. 5 nationally with 3.6 steals per contest and sits No. 15 in the nation with 20.5 points per game. She became the third Virginia player ever to reach the 2,000-career point plateau, Dec. 20 at Georgia.

The Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his 11th season with the Lady Flames, and has led his team to nine Big South titles. A five-time Big South Coach of the Year, Green owns a 243-79 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.755) ranked ninth all-time among NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the season's outset. Green is 2-3 all-time versus the Cavaliers.

Debbie Ryan, a 2008 inductee into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, is 706-301 in her 33th season as Virginia's head coach. The Cavaliers' season-opening win at UMBC made her the seventh active NCAA Division I women's basketball head coach to reach 700 wins. Ryan has guided the Cavaliers to 23 NCAA Tournament appearances and is 6-2 against Liberty.

Liberty-Virginia Series Notes
Virginia is 6-2 all-time against Liberty, but the Lady Flames have won two of their last three contests against their in-state foe.

Liberty beat the Cavaliers, 75-71, Nov. 20, 2006, becoming the first visiting basketball team (men's or women's) to win at John Paul Jones Arena. Megan Frazee paced the Lady Flames with one of the best games of her career, including 37 points and 15 rebounds.

Liberty Versus the ACC
Liberty is 4-30 all-time versus the current ACC members. However, the Lady Flames defeated Virginia Tech, 45-43, Dec. 30, 2008, in their most recent ACC matchup. That victory came in the Hokie Hardwood Classic title game at Cassell Coliseum.

The Lady Flames are 0-1 against Boston College, 0-3 against Duke, 0-2 against North Carolina, 0-1 against N.C. State, 2-6 against Virginia, 1-14 against Virginia Tech and 1-3 against Wake Forest.

Liberty at John Paul Jones Arena
Liberty basketball teams own a combined 2-0 record at John Paul Jones Arena. The Lady Flames claimed a 75-71 win on Nov. 20, 2006, and the Liberty men's basketball team defeated the Cavaliers, 86-82, on Nov. 25, 2008.

All-Time Record in December
The Lady Flames are 79-103 all-time in December contests, including 35-34 under head coach Carey Green. Last season, Liberty went 4-3 during the calendar year's final month, highlighted by a tournament title at the Hokie Hardwood Classic.

Liberty, which is 1-2 to start this month, only has five games scheduled this December. This marks the Lady Flames' fewest games in the month since Liberty played four contests in December 2001.

Liberty Versus Nationally-Ranked Opponents
If Liberty faces No. 20/23 Virginia, it will be the Lady Flames' first meeting with a Top 25 opponent since a 62-42 loss to No. 7 Louisville in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Division I Tournament. Liberty was 0-3 versus Top 25 foes in 2008-09, dropping contests to No. 13 Auburn, No. 19 Vanderbilt and No. 7 Louisville.

The Lady Flames have claimed four victories over nationally-ranked foes in program history, including an overtime triumph over No. 25 Virginia on Nov. 26, 2002. Liberty's 2004-05 "Sweet 16" qualifier posted three Top 25 wins. The Lady Flames won over No. 17 Kansas State (Dec. 4, 2004), No. 25 Penn State (March 20, 2005) and No. 19 DePaul (March 22, 2005).

Competing Against the Commonwealth
Liberty is 0-1 against Commonwealth opponents in 2009-10, dropping a 60-50 home contest to James Madison on Dec. 1. The Lady Flames could face another Commonwealth foe, Virginia, at the Marriott Cavalier Classic.

Later this season, Liberty is slated to meet Longwood (Jan. 12) and play a pair of contests against Big South rival Radford (Feb. 1 and March 5).

A Tale of Two Halves
In Liberty's most recent outing, the Lady Flames used a strong second-half effort to nearly pull off a win at Auburn. After trailing 33-19 at the intermission, Liberty trimmed its deficit to three points before falling, 70-64. The performance continued a season-long trend for the Lady Flames.

Liberty has regularly stepped up its level of play during the final 20 minutes this season. The Lady Flames are outscoring opponents by an average score of 38.1-24.6 during their first eight games.

Breaking the Rust
Liberty's Marriott Cavalier Classic opener against Cornell will be their first game in 13 days. It's the Lady Flames' longest break since a 15-day gap between games in 2003-04 (Dec. 14-29, 2003). Liberty came back from that extended vacation to win the Lafayette Holiday Tournament championship.

National Statistical Rankings
Through the contests of Dec. 20, the Lady Flames were ranked among the NCAA's top 25 teams in six statistical categories. Liberty is No. 5 in field goal percentage (.488), No. 6 in both rebound margin (+11.8) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.223), No. 7 in scoring defense (49.1 ppg), No. 9 in field goal percentage defense (.329) and No. 22 in scoring margin (+18.3).

Tournament Trends
Liberty has won the championship at four of its six regular-season tournaments since the start of the 2007-08 campaign. The Lady Flames have claimed tournament hardware at the 2007 National City Xavier Invitational, the 2007 UNLV Lady Rebel Christmas Classic, the 2008 Hokie Hardwood Classic and the 2009 Navy Classic.

The Lady Flames went on to win the Big South Championship title in both 2007-08 and 2008-09.

Painting a Masterpiece
Last season, Liberty regularly controlled the area around the basket, outscoring 29 of 33 opponents in the "points in the paint" statistical category.

This year, the Lady Flames are off to an outstanding start in racking up "points in the paint" once again. Through eight games, Liberty has outscored its opponents by an average margin of 42.3-15.3.

Most recently, the Lady Flames more than doubled up Auburn's "points in the paint" total on Dec. 15. Liberty scored 42 points in the paint to the Tigers' 20.

Lack of Overtime
Liberty has played only one overtime game in its last 187 outings, a 64-62 setback at High Point on Jan. 20, 2007. Since that contest at the Millis Center, the Lady Flames have played 86 consecutive games without needing extra time.

The Lady Flames' most recent overtime victory came on Jan. 6, 2004, when Liberty defeated American, 76-72, on the road in double overtime. No current Lady Flame has won an overtime contest in college.

Liberty's most recent overtime contest at the Vines Center was a memorable one. The Lady Flames defeated Virginia, 77-69, in overtime on Nov. 26, 2002, to claim their first-ever win over the Cavaliers. It also marked Liberty's first win over a ranked opponent, as Virginia entered the game with a No. 25 national ranking.

Youth will be Served
Underclassmen have stepped up to fill the void left by the seven seniors who graduated from the 2008-09 Liberty roster. Through the first eight games of the 2009-10 campaign, the Lady Flames' freshmen and sophomores are accounting for 71.2 percent of the team's points and 75.2 percent of Liberty's rebounds.

The Lady Flames' top five rebounders are all either freshmen or sophomores, as are four of the top five scorers.

Removing the Suspense
Liberty has not played in many tightly contested games so far this season. Only two contests (Dec. 1 versus James Madison and Dec. 15 at Auburn) have been decided by 10 points or less. Through eight games, the Lady Flames have only experienced five total ties and eight lead changes.