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Lady Flames Head Back to the 'Burg

March 21, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Watch a video of Liberty's return trip from the NCAA Tournament in Louisville, Ky.
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The Liberty women's basketball team made a successful return flight from Louisville, Ky., to Lynchburg, Va., Sunday morning, after wrapping up its 13th NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship appearance in the last 14 seasons. Fans of the Lady Flames may view the final video recap of the Lady Flames' trip, as shot and produced by Athletics Video Content Coordinator Jonathan Carone.

No. 13 seed Liberty gained a considerable amount of respect, after pushing No. 4 seed and SEC Tournament runner-up Kentucky to the limit during an 83-77 setback, Saturday at Freedom Hall. The defeat ended the Lady Flames' season at 27-6 and also provided a preview of a potentially bright future for Liberty women's basketball, as only one senior (Amber Mays) graduates from this year's squad.

Below is a collection of quotes regarding the Lady Flames' showing at the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship and the program's future, presented in Top 10 fashion.

10) "Avery [Warley] looks and plays like a very high level post player, and we've discussed that at length with our team … She's so physical and active and can rebound out of her area. She is another tough matchup for us. I feel like I say this every game, because we don't have anybody that looks like her that's playing right now. It's another challenge. We'll have to guard her with five people and have five people committed to boxing out and rebounding. It will be a tough matchup, but she is one in particular that really concerns us."
(Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell, BEFORE Warley posted a double-double during the first 13:29 of Saturday's game and finished with 17 points and a Liberty NCAA Tournament-record 14 rebounds.)

9) "The NCAA-tested Flames were hardly intimidated playing in front of a highly partisan crowd in what was a de facto home game for the Wildcats."
(Excerpt from Associated Press game recap story)

8) "It certainly can be argued that this team, which loses only point guard Amber Mays, made a stirring charge at an NCAA upset a year ahead of schedule."
(Excerpt from Chris Lang's game recap in the Lynchburg News & Advance)

7) "But with her team on its heels, if not quite on the ropes, early against a big, talented 13th-seeded Liberty team entirely unimpressed with the difference between the seed lines, Mathies jumped."
(Excerpt from Graham Hays' article on Kentucky freshman A'dia Mathes on ESPN.com)

6) "'She's as good a kid as there is,' Kentucky assistant Matt Insell said of [Devon] Brown, who scored 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting. ‘She made some big plays down the stretch for them. Every time we'd make a run, she'd make a play.'"
(Excerpt from Graham Hays' article on the performance of the two underdog teams at Louisville on ESPN.com)

5) "Liberty can definitely build on this performance, though. The Lady Flames lose just one senior - point guard Amber Mays. The 6-foot-2 [Jelena] Antic missed several games this past season. Imagine a full year of her services. And [Devon] Brown could be on the verge of blossoming into a true superstar."
(From the Ladyswish blog, covering NCAA Division I women's basketball in Virginia)

4) "There is no question that Liberty was good enough to beat us today. I'm not sure that they are a 13 seed. I think that is a good basketball team. We just found a way to step up and survive and advance."
(Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell, during his postgame press conference)

3) "All agree, though, that Saturday's performance — in which Liberty led by two at halftime before succumbing to Kentucky's second-half shooting — is the start of something big for a program trying to recapture the magic of a run to the Sweet 16 in 2005."
(Excerpt from Chris Lang's game recap in the Lynchburg News & Advance)

2) "Sure, fourth-seeded Kentucky and No. 5 seed Michigan State will play for the Sweet 16, but only after each had to play a full 40 minutes of entertaining basketball against No. 13 Liberty and No. 12 Bowling Green, respectively. Say what you want about both the Wildcats and Spartans pulling away by turning up the defensive pressure in the second half; the underdogs didn't just hang around as a result of luck and lackadaisical opposition. They threatened to pull the upsets because the talent gap between each set of rosters wasn't that far apart, beginning with stars like Liberty's Devon Brown and Bowling Green's Lauren Prochaska. Women's basketball is producing enough quality players to begin, gradually, filling rosters beyond the top 15 or 20 teams. Both players will return next season, as will key components of both lineups, particularly Liberty with 6-foot-3 Avery Warley and 6-4 Kylee Beecher returning alongside Brown."
(Excerpt from Graham Hays' article on the performance of the two underdog teams at Louisville on ESPN.com)

1) "'Oh, we will be back, definitely,' said [Devon] Brown, who scored 24 points in her first NCAA appearance. ‘This will not be the last time you see Liberty.'"
(From the postgame press conference and included in Chris Lang's game recap in the Lynchburg News & Advance)

Previous videos from Liberty's trip to the NCAA Tournament in Louisville
March 18 - Lady Flames Land in Louisville
March 18 - Liberty Hits the Hardwood
March 19 - NCAA Press Conference
March 19 - Lady Flames Enjoy a Fun-Filled Friday
March 20 - Clock Ticking Down to Tipoff in Louisville
March 20 - Postgame Press Conference