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WBB Game Day Central: No. 2/3 Baylor

November 24, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Danika Dale, one of Liberty's four Texas natives, will play in her home state Friday versus No. 2/3 Baylor.

Danika Dale, one of Liberty's four Texas natives, will play in her home state Friday versus No. 2/3 Baylor.

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The Game

Liberty (2-3, 0-0 Big South) will wrap up its swing through the Lone Star State Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern, when the Lady Flames match up with No. 2/3 Baylor (5-1, 0-0 Big 12). It will be the first contest between the Lady Flames and the Bears, who reached the Final Four of last year's NCAA Tournament and feature 6-8 sophomore Brittany Griner. The game will also provide one more opportunity for Liberty's Texas natives (Danika Dale, Emily Frazier, Rachel McLeod and Tolu Omotola) to play in their home state.

Last Time Out
No. 8/8 Texas A&M jumped out to a 15-2 lead and never looked back, Monday evening at Reed Arena, defeating the Lady Flames, 81-49. It was the most lopsided setback Liberty has experienced since a 76-43 loss to Marist on Dec. 29, 2006. Bright spots for the Lady Flames included Tolu Omotola, who scored a career-high 13 points, and Dymond Morgan, who equaled a career best with 13 points.

A Look Ahead
Liberty will return home to host Glenville State, Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames' final home game until Jan. 17 will pit them against a team which led the nation's Division II programs in both points (95.9 ppg) and three-pointers made (14.1/game) last season. Liberty is 2-0 all-time against Glenville State, including an 86-45 home win a season ago.

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 Baylor
A Final Four participant last season, Baylor is off to a fast start once again in 2010-11. The Bears are 5-1 overall, earning a No. 2 ranking in the AP Top 25 and a No. 3 listing in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25. Their lone setback was a 65-64 loss at No. 1/1 UConn on Nov. 16.

The Bears are led by 6-8 sophomore Brittney Griner, who is averaging 20.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 4.7 bpg. She became Baylor's career leader in blocked shots during Tuesday night's 100-43 home win over Texas Southern. Griner has rejected 251 shots in the first 41 games of her collegiate career, including an NCAA single-season 223 blocks as a freshman.

Melissa Jones, a 5-11 senior guard, is another key cog in the Baylor lineup. The Bears' team captain is averaging 12.8 ppg, a team-high 9.2 rpg, 3.2 apg and 2.0 spg this season.

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 266-86 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.756) ranked 10th all-time among NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the season's outset.

Kim Mulkey is 269-77 in her 11th season at the helm at Baylor. Her winning percentage (.777) ranks No. 6 nationally among NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches. Mulkey led Baylor to the 2005 NCAA national championship and took the Bears back to the Final Four last season. She was a two-time national champion during her playing career at Louisiana Tech and won an Olympic gold medal in 1984 for Team USA.

Liberty-Baylor Series Notes
Friday's game will mark the first meeting between Liberty and Baylor on the hardwood. It is the third time in Liberty's first six games that the Lady Flames have faced a first-time opponent, also including Creighton and Texas A&M.

Liberty Versus the Big 12 Conference
Liberty is 1-2 versus the current members of the Big 12 Conference, including an 0-1 record versus Iowa State, a 1-0 mark against Kansas State and an 0-1 record against Texas A&M. The Lady Flames will meet Baylor for the first time on Friday.

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 had ever played to the Lone Star State previously is Baton Rouge, La.

Feels Like Home
Even though Friday's game at Baylor 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.

Feels Like Home, Part 2
Liberty has never played at the Ferrell Center before, but the facility should look a bit familiar to the Lady Flames. The 10,284-seat arena features a gold dome roof, which is very similar in shape and design to the silver dome atop Liberty's Vines Center. The Ferrell Center was completed in 1988, while the Vines Center opened its doors two years later.

Liberty Versus the Top 25
Baylor, ranked No. 2 in the AP poll and No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25, will be the 36th nationally-ranked opponent Liberty has ever faced and the second in a row. The Lady Flames are 4-31 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.

Two of a Kind
Liberty and Baylor both boast sensational sophomores. The Lady Flames' Devon Brown and the Bears' Brittney Griner were two of the nation's four freshmen to average at least 17.0 ppg and 8.0 rpg in 2009-10.

Expectations for both were high entering the 2010-11 campaign, as Brown was voted the Big South Preseason Player of the Year and Griner was named the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year. Brown has been injured and has yet to make her 2010-11 debut.

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 Friday evening, joining teammates Rachel McLeod and Tolu Omotola, as well as Baylor's trio of Brittney Griner, Kimetria Hayden and Brooklyn Pope.

It's Been a While
Monday's 81-49 loss at No. 8/8 Texas A&M marked Liberty's first double-digit setback since Dec. 1, 2009, when James Madison claimed a 60-50 victory at the Vines Center.