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Women's Hoops Tips Off Preseason Practice

October 3, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Lady Flames held their first official practice for the 2010-11 season, Sunday at the Schilling Center.

The Lady Flames held their first official practice for the 2010-11 season, Sunday at the Schilling Center.

The three-time defending Big South Conference champion Liberty women's basketball team held its first official practice for the 2010-11 season Sunday evening at the Schilling Center. The Lady Flames' two-hour session focused primarily on the offensive end of the court.

Head coach Carey Green and assistant coach Heather Stephens led the Lady Flames through a series of shooting drills and ran through a variety of half-court and full-court offenses. Liberty hopes to continue its offensive efficiency, which saw the Lady Flames rank second nationally behind national champion UConn with a .482 field goal percentage in 2009-10.

Another highlight of Sunday's practice was a drill which featured a 3-on-3 full-court contest, with no dribbling allowed. The trio of Rachel McLeod, Jasmine Gardner and Kittery Maine and the unit of Brittany Campbell, Danika Dale and Avery Warley were two of the most successful teams at mastering the unique drill.

Other than Gardner, the other five players on those squads have spent at least two seasons with the Lady Flames, part of a marked increase in experience from last season to the 2010-11 campaign. Only five players who saw action in 2009-10 had ever suited up for the Lady Flames before last year. Meanwhile, this year's team features 11 players with game experience, including four returning starters (McLeod, Warley, Kylee Beecher and Devon Brown) from last season's 27-6 squad.

Oct. 15 has been the traditional start date for NCAA Division I women's basketball practices in recent years, but a rule change now allows teams to begin practicing 40 days before their first regular-season game. With the 2010-11 season opener against Creighton scheduled for Nov. 12 at N.C. State's Sheraton Raleigh Wolfpack Invitational, the Lady Flames were eligible to tip off practice on Oct. 3. The same rule change allows 30 practices within the 40 days leading up to the season opener.

Liberty spent its final day prior to the start of practice holding a car wash to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association. The Lady Flames' car wash, which was held at Jiffy Lube on Route 221 and The Sundae Grill near campus, raised approximately $500 in donations. Liberty will be participating in the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk, scheduled for Oct. 16 at Riverside Park.