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Liberty to Meet Old Dominion in Preseason WNIT Opener

June 7, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty will tip off the 2017 Preseason WNIT at Old Dominion, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m.

Liberty will tip off the 2017 Preseason WNIT at Old Dominion, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m.

2017 Preseason WNIT Bracket

Liberty will tip off both its fifth Preseason WNIT appearance and its 2017-18 season at Old Dominion, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va.

The Lady Flames and Monarchs will meet in the opening game of the 16-team tournament, with the winner advancing to face the Michigan-George Mason victor on either Nov. 12, 13 or 14. The semifinals are slated for Nov. 16, while the 24th annual Preseason WNIT championship game will take place on Nov. 19 at 3 p.m., live on the CBS Sports Network. All games will be hosted by participating schools.

The losing team in the Liberty-Old Dominion clash will play a pair of consolation contests to meet the tournament's three-game guarantee.

"It's an honor to be selected to participate in the Preseason WNIT," stated Liberty Head Coach Carey Green. "The WNIT is historically recognized as the nation's premier NCAA preseason tournament. Often several of the participating teams are nationally ranked and go on to advance deep into the NCAA Tournament in March.

"We are certainly excited to begin our season by playing against the traditional powerhouse, cross-state rival ODU. This will give our fans a great opportunity to support the Lady Flames in the season opener. It will also provide us as coaches the opportunity to evaluate our team's development as we tackle the challenges of facing first-class opponents in a first-class tournament early in the season."

Liberty has faced Commonwealth foe Old Dominion twice previously, with both matchups being NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship first round games hosted by the Monarchs.

The Lady Flames' first-ever NCAA Tournament visit resulted in a 102-52 loss at Old Dominion on March 14, 1997. Liberty also dropped an 82-62 decision to the Monarchs in the NCAA's opening round on March 23, 2008.

Coming off of a 13-17 season, the Lady Flames will return seven of their top eight scorers in 2017-18. Headlining the returnees is Big South Freshman of the Year Keyen Green (12.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg).

Green was joined on the Big South All-Freshman team by guard Iva Ilic (7.0 ppg) and guard/forward Ola Makurat (6.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg).

Old Dominion went 17-14 in 2016-17, including 11-7 in Conference USA play. The Monarchs will be a new-look team this season, under the direction of first-year head coach Nikki McCray-Penson.

ODU lost Conference USA Player of the Year Jennie Simms (26.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and second team all-conference performer Destinee Young (10.9 ppg, 10.7 rpg) to graduation.

Senior guard Ashley Jackson is the team's top returnee, after averaging 5.8 ppg and 4.4 rpg a season ago. The Monarchs also gain the services of transfer guard Kelly Loftus, a two-time All-CAA performer during her time at Hofstra.

Liberty will be making its fifth Preseason WNIT appearance, which is the most among this year's tournament participants. The Lady Flames previously took part in the tournament in 1999, 2003, 2008 and 2012.

Liberty is 3-5 all-time in Preseason WNIT, including consolation round wins over Grambling State and Sacred Heart at the Vines Center in 2012. However, the Lady Flames are seeking their first-ever win in a Preseason WNIT first-round tilt.

The remainder of the Lady Flames' 2017-18 season schedule will be announced later this summer.

2017 Preseason WNIT Round 1 – Nov. 10
Liberty at Old Dominion, 4 p.m.

George Mason at Michigan, 7 p.m.
Southeast Missouri at Louisville, 7 p.m.
Saint Francis (Pa.) at Toledo, 7 p.m.
Cal State Northridge at Oregon, 8 p.m.
Houston at Texas A&M, 8 p.m.
Milwaukee at Drake, 8 p.m.
New Orleans at Louisiana, 8 p.m.

Round 2 – Nov. 12-14

Semifinals – Nov. 16

Championship Game – Nov. 19, 3 p.m., CBS Sports Network