Sadalia Ellis contributed 15 points, nine assists and five steals to Liberty's 61-48 triumph at Gardner-Webb last season.
Game Day Central Page Liberty's Women's Basketball Game Notes
Game Time: 7 p.m. Video Streaming Coverage: Big South Network Radio Coverage: Liberty Flames Sports Network – Radio WQLU 90.9 FM The Light Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Jamie Hall Today's Game The Liberty women's basketball team (2-4) will open defense of its Big South regular-season title Wednesday at Gardner-Webb (4-1). The finale of the Lady Flames' four-game road swing will tip off at 7 p.m. inside Paul Porter Arena.
The "Starting Five" - Liberty's Top Storylines 1) Liberty will look to open Big South play with a win for the sixth consecutive year and the 15th time in the last 16 seasons. The Lady Flames' last loss in a Big South opener was a 70-65 setback at Gardner-Webb on Jan. 2, 2010.
2) The Lady Flames enter Wednesday's game on a four-game losing streak, which marks their longest losing skid since opening the 2013-14 season at 0-4.
3) Liberty has won eight straight meetings with Gardner-Webb, including five straight in Boiling Springs. However, the Lady Flames expect a stern test from the Runnin' Bulldogs, who are 4-1, highlighted by a win at North Carolina in their season opener.
4) Nine of the 17 all-time meetings between Liberty and Gardner-Webb have been decided by 10 points or fewer, including two of the last three matchups. Both teams have already played numerous close games in 2015-16, as Gardner-Webb is 3-1 in games decided by 10 points or fewer this season, while Liberty is 2-3.
5) Senior point guard Sadalia Ellis is averaging a career-high 12.8 ppg for the Lady Flames this season. She has played well in each of her last two visits to Boiling Springs, averaging 14.0 ppg. Last season (Feb. 5, 2015), Ellis posted 15 points, nine assists and five steals in Liberty's 61-48 triumph at Gardner-Webb.
Liberty vs. Gardner-Webb At a Glance Series History Series Record: Liberty leads, 14-3. Current Streak: Liberty has won eight consecutive meetings. Series Record at Gardner-Webb: Liberty leads, 6-1. Current Streak at Gardner-Webb: Liberty has won five consecutive meetings. Last Meeting Overall: Liberty 61, Gardner-Webb 48 (Feb. 5, 2015 at GWU) Last Meeting at Gardner-Webb: Same GWU's Last Series Victory: GWU 67, Liberty 66 (March 13, 2011 at High Point) GWU's Last Series Victory at Home: GWU 70, Liberty 65 (Jan. 2, 2010)
Coaching Matchup Liberty Head Coach: Carey Green Overall Record (Seasons): 385-132 (17th Season) Record at Liberty (Seasons): Same Record vs. Gardner-Webb: 14-3
Gardner-Webb Head Coach: Rick Reeves Overall Record (Seasons): 437-413 (30th Season) Record at Gardner-Webb (Seasons): 170-175 (12th Season) Record vs. Liberty: 3-14
Notes and Anecdotes • Gardner-Webb is off to a 4-1 start, highlighted by a 66-65 win at North Carolina in its season opener on Nov. 13. Candace Brown's game-winning layup against the Tar Heels gave the Runnin' Bulldogs their first-ever win over a Top 25 opponent and their first triumph over an ACC foe.
• Brown (16.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg) and Olivia Parker (16.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg), the only two seniors on Gardner-Webb's roster, have led the way for the Runnin' Bulldogs.
• Wednesday's contest will close out a five-game homestand for Gardner-Webb and a four-game road swing for the Lady Flames.
• Liberty's only setback in a Big South opener during the last 15 seasons was a 70-65 loss at Gardner-Webb on Jan. 2, 2010. That is the Runnin' Bulldogs lone home win over the Lady Flames in seven matchups at Paul Porter Arena.
• Nine of the 17 all-time meetings between Liberty and Gardner-Webb have been decided by 10 points or fewer, including two of the last three matchups. Gardner-Webb is 3-1 in games decided by 10 points or fewer this year, while Liberty is 2-3.
• Gardner-Webb head coach Rick Reeves previously served as Liberty's head coach for nine seasons (1990-91 through 1998-99), leading the Lady Flames to their first three Big South Conference titles (1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons). Liberty in Big South Openers All-Time Record in Big South Openers: 18-6 Record Breakdown: 7-2 (Home), 11-4 (Away) Carey Green's Record in Big South Openers: 14-2 Record Breakdown: 6-1 (Home), 8-1 (Away) Current Streak: Liberty has won its last five Big South openers and 14 of its last 15 conference openers. Last Year's Big South Opener: Liberty 72, Radford 63 (Dec. 6, 2014 at Radford) Liberty's Last Loss in a Big South Opener: Gardner-Webb 70, Liberty 65 (Jan. 2, 2010 at Gardner-Webb) Note: Liberty is 1-1 in Big South openers versus Gardner-Webb. The Lady Flames posted a 55-42 home win over the Runnin' Bulldogs on Jan. 3, 2009, in the Runnin' Bulldogs first-ever Big South contest. Gardner-Webb then returned the favor inside Paul Porter Arena the following year, 70-65, on Jan. 2, 2010. That is the Lady Flames' most recent loss in a Big South lid-lifter. On This Date Liberty is 6-4 all-time when playing on Dec. 2, including 1-0 against current members of the Big South Conference. The Lady Flames notched an 85-71 victory at Coastal Carolina on Dec. 2, 1988, during Liberty's first NCAA Division I season.
No Easy Games Liberty's first six opponents this season have boasted a combined record of 12-4 at the time of the meeting and have included two nationally ranked teams (No. 11/14 Ohio State and No. 16/15 California). Things do not get any easier for the Lady Flames in the near future. Contests against 4-1 Gardner-Webb (Wednesday), 4-2 Charleston Southern (Saturday), No. 25 Seton Hall (Dec. 12) and No. 15/12 Duke (Dec. 17) are Liberty's next four outings. A Look Back at the Lady Flames' South Point Thanksgiving Shooutout Appearance • Liberty lost a pair of tight games to nationally ranked opponents at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout, Friday and Saturday at South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
• The Lady Flames led No. 11/14 Ohio State 61-60 with 7:29 remaining on Friday before the Buckeyes closed the game on a 15-4 run to pull out a 75-65 victory.
• Liberty shot a season-high 49.1 percent from the field and outrebounded Ohio State, 42-31. However, the Lady Flames were undone by a season-high 29 turnovers, which the Buckeyes converted into 37 points.
• All-tournament team member Ashley Rininger (18 points, 6 rebounds) and Catherine Kearney (season-high 11 points, 6 rebounds) led the Lady Flames.
• On Saturday, Liberty trimmed an 18-point fourth quarter deficit to three before falling to No. 16/15 California, 77-72.
• Cal ended Liberty's 69-game streak of holding opponents below 50 percent field goal shooting, finishing at 51.9 percent.
• Rininger (18 points) paced four Lady Flames in double figures, while Sadalia Ellis and Jaymee Fisher-Davis contributed 13 points apiece and Katelyn Adams fashioned a double-double (11 points, 15 rebounds).
It's Been a While • Liberty's current four-game losing streak is its longest since dropping four straight contests to open the 2013-14 season.
• California shot 51.9 percent from the field against Liberty on Saturday, becoming the Lady Flames' first opponent to shoot 50 percent or better, since Purdue made exactly half of its field goals against the Lady Flames on March 24, 2013. In between, Liberty held 69 consecutive opponents below 50 percent shooting.
Early Trends • Liberty has outscored each of its first six opponents inside the paint.
• The Lady Flames have scored more bench points than their opponent in five straight games and are averaging 21.7 bench points per contest in 2015-16.
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