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WBB Game Day Central: No. 8/8 Texas A&M

November 22, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Senior Rachel McLeod will play her 100th career game Monday evening, in her home state of Texas.

Senior Rachel McLeod will play her 100th career game Monday evening, in her home state of Texas.

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The Game

Liberty (2-2, 0-0 Big South) will begin a challenging two-game Texas road swing Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern, when the Lady Flames visit No. 8/8 Texas A&M (2-0, 0-0 Big 12). Liberty's first-ever contest within the state of Texas will be a matchup between the 2010 Big South champions and the 2010 Big 12 champions. This week's trip will mark a homecoming of sorts for the Lady Flames' four Lone Star State natives (Danika Dale, Emily Frazier, Rachel McLeod and Tolu Omotola).

Last Time Out
The Lady Flames broke open a tight contest with a 13-2 second-half run, Saturday versus Lafayette. Liberty then held off the Leopards for a 64-52 victory, picking up its second straight win at the Vines Center. Jelena Antic led four Lady Flames in double figures with 16 points, while also grabbing a team-high seven rebounds.

A Look Ahead
Liberty's Texas swing will conclude Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern, when the Lady Flames travel to Waco to face No. 2/2 Baylor for the first time in program history. The Bears, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Final Four last season, feature 6-8 sophomore Brittney Griner. She and Liberty's Devon Brown were two of the four freshmen in the nation to average at least 17.0 ppg and 8.0 rpg last season.

Lady Flames On The Air
All Lady Flames basketball games may be heard LIVE on WWMC 90.9 FM "The Light." Jamie Hall, in his 17th year of broadcasting Lady Flames basketball, will handle the courtside play-by-play duties for all games.

Scouting Texas A&M
The Texas A&M Aggies, ranked No. 8 in both national Top 25 polls, return three starters from last year's squad, which captured the Big 12 Tournament championship. They are 2-0 to start the 2010-11 campaign, after recording comfortable wins over Arkansas-Little Rock (87-41) and Rice (80-40).

Danielle Adams, a 6-1 senior forward/center is averaging 25.0 ppg and 10.0 rpg so far this season. She was the 2010 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Other key contributors early on have been 6-0 junior guard Tyra White (12.0 ppg) and 5-6 junior guard Sydney Carter (7.5 ppg, 6.0 apg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 spg, 0 turnovers).

Liberty led the nation in rebound margin last season, but Texas A&M has an early jump on the Lady Flames in 2010-11. The Aggies' margin thus far is +25.5, while Liberty checks in at +13.8.

The Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his 12th season with the Lady Flames, and has led his team to 10 Big South titles. A five-time Big South Coach of the Year, Green owns a 266-85 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.758) ranked 10th all-time among NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the season's outset.

Gary Blair is 157-74 in his eighth season at Texas A&M, making him the winningest coach in program history. His overall coaching record stands at 565-237 in 26 seasons, including stints at Stephen F. Austin (1985-93) and Arkansas (1993-2003). Blair is one of only two coaches to take three different teams to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16.

Liberty-Texas A&M Series Notes
Monday's game will mark the first meeting between Liberty and Texas A&M on the hardwood.

However, Liberty redshirt sophomore Tolu Omotola faced the Aggies as a freshman at TCU. On Dec. 21, 2008, Texas A&M defeated the Lady Frogs, 64-50, at Reed Arena. Omotola had one point, two rebounds and one blocked shot in 11 minutes of action.

Liberty Versus the Big 12 Conference
Liberty is 1-1 versus the current members of the Big 12 Conference, including an 0-1 record versus Iowa State and a 1-0 mark against Kansas State. The Lady Flames will meet Baylor and Texas A&M for the first time this week.

The Lady Flames' victory over Kansas State was a memorable triumph in program history. It came by a 77-56 margin on Dec. 4, 2004, in the championship game of the Commerce Bank Wildcat Tournament. The Wildcats were ranked No. 17/19 nationally at the time.

First Time in Texas
This week's road trip marks Liberty's first visit to Texas in the 36-year history of the women's basketball program. The closest the Lady Flames have ever played to the Lone Star State previously is Baton Rouge, La.

Feels Like Home
Even though Monday's game at Texas A&M will be played nearly 1,300 miles from Liberty's campus in Lynchburg, Va., four Lady Flames will feel very much at home. Liberty's roster features four Texas natives--Danika Dale (Fort Hood), Emily Frazier (Magnolia), Rachel McLeod (Houston) and Tolu Omotola (Houston). That ties Texas with Virginia as the state which has produced the most current Lady Flames.

In addition to playing close to home, McLeod will also enjoy a career milestone on Monday at Texas A&M. She is expected to start at shooting guard, which will begin her 100th appearance in a Liberty uniform.

Liberty Versus the Top 25
Texas A&M, ranked No. 8 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 polls, will be the 35th nationally-ranked opponent Liberty has ever faced. The Lady Flames are 4-30 all-time against Top 25 foes. Here are Liberty's victories over ranked opponents:

Nov. 26, 2002 - 77-69 (OT) win over No. 23 Virginia in Lynchburg, Va.
Dec. 4, 2004 - 77-56 win over No. 17/19 Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan.
March 20, 2005 - 78-70 win over No. 22/25 Penn State in College Park, Md. (NCAA)
March 22, 2005 - 88-79 win over No. 17 DePaul in College Park, Md. (NCAA)

Big South/Big 12 Challenge?
Liberty is not the only Big South women's basketball team facing Big 12 opposition this week. In addition to the Lady Flames' tilts at Texas A&M and Baylor, Charleston Southern will play at Texas Tech on Friday and Gardner-Webb will head to Oklahoma on Saturday.

The Big South men's basketball teams are even getting in on the fun. Liberty's men's hoops squad dropped a 79-71 decision at Texas Tech on Sunday.

Fantastic First for Frazier
It took only four games for Liberty freshman Emily Frazier to earn her first start at the point guard position, and she flourished in her new role on Saturday against Lafayette. Frazier tallied a season-high 11 points and paced the team with three assists. She also drilled five of six free throws during the game's final 71 seconds to stave off the Leopards' rally attempts.

Frazier is one of six Texas natives expected to start Monday evening, joining teammates Rachel McLeod and Tolu Omotola, as well as Texas A&M's trio of Maryann Baker, Sydney Carter and Adaora Elonu.