Game Day Central Page Liberty's Women's Basketball Game Notes Game Time: 5 p.m. Official Tipoff: 5:05 p.m.
TV Coverage: Liberty Flames Sports Network – TV ESPN3 Big South Network Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Mike Tilley Color Commentator: Kelley Deyo Sideline Reporter: Britton Lynn
Radio Coverage: Liberty Flames Sports Network – Radio WQLU 90.9 FM The Light Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Jamie Hall Color Commentator: Emily Stotmeister
Today's Game The Liberty women's basketball team (3-5, 1-1 Big South) will face another strong non-conference opponent Saturday at 5 p.m., when Seton Hall (8-1, 0-0 BIG EAST) visits the Vines Center. The Pirates opened the 2015-16 season at 7-0 and were ranked inside the Top 25 earlier this year.
The "Starting Five" - Liberty's Top Storylines 1) Liberty, which is facing Seton Hall for the first time in program history, is playing host to a BIG EAST opponent at the Vines Center for the fourth time and the first since Dec. 14, 2002 (Virginia Tech).
2) The Lady Flames have recorded two all-time victories against BIG EAST foes, with both coming against West Virginia. Liberty is seeking its first triumph over a BIG EAST opponent since a 78-67 home win over the Mountaineers on Nov. 25, 2000.
3) Liberty has won two of its first three home games to start the 2015-16 season, improving to 188-29 at the Vines Center under Head Coach Carey Green. On the other side of the equation, Seton Hall is 4-1 away from home this year, headlined by wins over NC State and Saint Joseph's.
4) Jaymee Fisher-Davis paces the Lady Flames with 16 three-pointers this season, giving her 95 for her career. Meanwhile, Seton Hall's Tabatha Richardson-Smith has hit a program-record 222 triples during her career, including 23 this year.
5) Ashley Rininger has scored in double figures in 15 straight games, dating back to last season, and tops Liberty's lineup with 15.6 ppg. Her career high of 29 points came at Seton Hall's Walsh Gymnasium, on Nov. 30, 2013. Liberty vs. Seton Hall At a Glance Series History Series Record: First meeting
Coaching Matchup Liberty Head Coach: Carey Green Overall Record (Seasons): 386-133 (17th Season) Record at Liberty (Seasons): Same Record vs. Seton Hall: 0-0
Seton Hall Head Coach: Anthony Bozzella Overall Record (Seasons): 362-339 (24th Season) Record at Seton Hall (Seasons): 56-21 (Third Season) Record vs. Liberty: 0-0
Notes and Anecdotes • Saturday's game will be the first-ever meeting between Liberty and Seton Hall. However, the Lady Flames did play a pair of games at Walsh Gymnasium during the 2013 Seton Hall Thanksgiving Classic. Liberty fell 70-66 to Fresno State on Nov. 29, 2013, before erasing a 21-point deficit to defeat Savannah State, 89-79, the following day. Ashley Rininger scored a career-high 29 points against Savannah State and earned a spot on the all-tournament team.
• Liberty is 2-11 all-time against BIG EAST foes, with both wins coming over West Virginia (Jan. 2, 2000 & Nov. 25, 2000). Meanwhile, Seton Hall is 1-0 all-time versus Big South opponents, posting a 63-46 home win over Longwood on Nov. 8, 2013.
• This will be the fourth time Liberty has hosted a BIG EAST opponent at the Vines Center. The Lady Flames defeated West Virginia 78-67 on Nov. 25, 2000 and lost two contests to Virginia Tech (56-40 on Dec. 8, 2001 and 53-50 on Dec. 14, 2002).
• Seton Hall got off to its first 7-0 start since 1989-90, highlighted by wins over Rutgers, No. 24 Princeton, Saint Joseph's and NC State.
• The Pirates were ranked No. 22 in the AP Top 25 (their highest AP ranking since 1995) and No. 21 in the Coaches Poll before losing at Georgia on Sunday and dropping out of both polls.
• Seton Hall is coming off of a 2014-15 season which featured a program-record 28 victories, its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1995 and its first-ever BIG EAST regular-season title.
• Liberty's roster features three New Jersey natives--Catherine Kearney (Monroeville), Sheana Vega (Jackson) and Jordan Woods (Mount Holly)--although none of them grew up within 70 miles of Seton Hall's campus in West Orange. On This Date Liberty is 4-3 all-time when playing on Dec. 12, highlighted by an 80-76 victory at Kentucky on Dec. 12, 1998. The Lady Flames have not played a Dec. 12 contest since 2004, when they lost 83-48 to No. 3 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Back on Track Tied with Charleston Southern at halftime on Dec. 5 and staring at the possibility of its first six-game losing streak since December 2000, Liberty used its staples of defense and rebounding to pull out a 51-40 victory. The Lady Flames held CSU to 15 second-half points and outrebounded the Buccaneers, 28-11, during the final 20 minutes of play. Ashley Rininger tallied 14 points and eight rebounds in the second half. She personally outscored CSU by a 12-6 count during the fourth quarter.
Tough Time in Tight Games Liberty is just 2-4 in games decided by 10 points or fewer this season, after going 9-4 in such contests last season. One contributing factor could be the Lady Flames' performance at the foul line. Liberty is shooting 66.7 percent at the free throw line in 2015-16. Last season, the Lady Flames connected on a program-record 74.5 percent of their free throw attempts.
Shaking Things Up Head Coach Carey Green has used four different starting lineups during this season's first eight games, including a different five in each of the last three outings. Four Lady Flames (Jaymee Fisher-Davis, Candice Leatherwood, Audrey Rettstatt and Sheana Vega) have made their first career start this season, while Mikal Johnson has appeared in the starting lineup for the first time as a Lady Flame after starting 28 times at Rider.
No Easy Games Liberty's first eight opponents this season have boasted a combined record of 21-7 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 8-1 Seton Hall (Saturday) and No. 13/11 Duke (Thursday) are Liberty's next two outings. A Look Back at the Lady Flames' 51-40 Win Over Charleston Southern • Ashley Rininger single-handedly outscored the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, 12-6, during the final 10 minutes, helping the Lady Flames pull away for a 51-40 victory, Dec. 5 at the Vines Center.
• After being honored for joining the 1,000-point club during a pregame ceremony, Rininger added a game-high 18 points to her career total despite being limited by foul trouble for most of the first half.
• She also tied for the game lead with nine rebounds, helping Liberty snap its five-game losing skid and pick up its first Big South win of 2015-16.
• The Lady Flames have won 10 straight meetings with Charleston Southern, 15 consecutive home games against Big South foes and 22 straight home matchups with CSU.
• The Buccaneers shot just 29.6 percent (16-of-54) for the game and the conference's leading scorer, Alyssa Mann, was held to five points on 2-of-16 shooting.
• Mikal Johnson posted a season-high 10 points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Lady Flames, falling one board shy of her first career double-double.
• Making her first career start at point guard, Candice Leatherwood finished with seven points and a career-high five boards in a career-high 34 minutes played.
It's Been a While • Liberty's five-game losing streak (Nov. 20-Dec. 2) was its longest since dropping five straight contests spanning the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
• Katelyn Adams pulled down 15 rebounds in consecutive games (Cal on Nov. 28 and Gardner-Webb on Dec. 2), becoming the first Lady Flame with back-to-back 15-board contests since Avery Warley (Dec. 30, 2008 and Jan. 3, 2009).
Early Trends • Liberty has outscored each of its first eight opponents inside the paint.
• The Lady Flames have outrebounded seven of their first eight opponents to start the 2015-16 season. James Madison (Nov. 23) was the only opposing team to win the battle of the boards against Liberty.
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