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Lady Flames Seek Sixth-Straight Victory

January 25, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Backup point guard Rachel McLeod is seeing the most playing time of Liberty's newcomers, averaging 15.7 minutes per contest.

Backup point guard Rachel McLeod is seeing the most playing time of Liberty's newcomers, averaging 15.7 minutes per contest.

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The Game
The Liberty Lady Flames (16-2, 2-0 Big South) return to the Vines Center, where they will play six of their next seven contests. The string begins with first-time opponent Presbyterian (1-20, 1-15 away), Saturday at 2 p.m. Liberty will look to boost its winning streak to six against the Lady Blue Hose, a future Big South Conference member.

The Last Time Out
A 20-2 Liberty run helped the Lady Flames claim a 34-14 halftime advantage, Monday at Coastal Carolina. From that point on, the Lady Flames cruised to their second-straight road win to open conference play, 71-44. Megan Frazee notched 17 points and 13 rebounds for Liberty, but the Lady Flames' defense was the story. Liberty came up with a season-high 12 steals and tallied 33 points off Chanticleer miscues. The Lady Flames held their fifth opponent this season under the 20-point plateau during the opening half.

Lady Flames On The Air
All Lady Flames basketball games can be heard LIVE on WWMC 90.9 FM "The Light." Jamie Hall, who is celebrating his 14th year of broadcasting Lady Flames basketball, will once again be handling the courtside play-by-play duties for most road games. Due to Hall's television responsibilities, Jerod Brooks will serve as the primary commentator for home games.

Lady Flames On TV
For the fifth year in a row, the Flames Television Network (FTN) plans to broadcast all 13 home women's basketball games. FTN's regular announcing team consists of Ray Jones on play-by-play and Jamie Hall on color.

Scouting Presbyterian
The Presbyterian Lady Blue Hose, hailing from Clinton, S.C., have traveled a difficult road, literally, in the first season of their transition to NCAA Division I. Presbyterian has played just four of its 21 games at home, and both Georgia and West Virginia have been among the squad's opponents during its 6,568 miles of travel.

Presbyterian, a future Big South Conference member, is 0-7 versus Big South opposition this season. The closest the Lady Blue Hose have come to defeating a future conference rival was a 68-64 home setback to UNC Asheville on Jan. 5. Today's game wraps up a string of six-straight Blue Hose tilts versus Big South foes.

Katlin Moore, a 5-7 freshman guard, paces the Lady Blue Hose in scoring with 9.7 ppg. Sharie Hopkins, a 6-0 junior forward/center and the lone Virginia native on the Presbyterian roster, is close behind with 9.4 ppg and a team-high 5.5 rpg.

The Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his ninth season with the Lady Flames. He owns a 201-66 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.753) ranked 12th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the beginning of the season.

Jessica Vanco, a 1999 graduate of St. Bonaventure, is 35-70 in her fourth season as Presbyterian's head coach.

Positive First Impressions
Presbyterian is the sixth opponent Liberty is meeting for the first time this season. So far, the Lady Flames are 5-0 versus new foes, including victories over Ball State, Glenville State, Houston, McNeese State and Xavier.

Home Cooking
Liberty is 6-0 at the Vines Center during the 2007-08 campaign, but the Lady Flames are not the only Liberty athletic team which has benefitted from the friendly confines of the Vines Center.

Liberty is unbeaten in the last 27 athletic contests played at the 17-year-old on-campus facility, since the volleyball team lost to James Madison on Sept. 18. The Liberty netters won 11-straight matches to end the year, the wrestling team tied N.C. State and the Flames men's basketball team has been victorious in its first nine home decisions of the season.

Today, Liberty will have a chance to add two more wins to the streak, as the women's and men's basketball teams will play a day/night doubleheader. A men's Big South game against High Point is slated for a 9 p.m. tip.

Out of the Gate Quickly
Liberty opened Big South play with wins at Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina on Jan. 19 and 21, marking the ninth-straight year the Lady Flames have completed the "Beach Trip" with a 2-0 record. Liberty has never lost to either the Lady Buccaneers or Chanticleers under head coach Carey Green's direction, going 39-0 against the pair of South Carolina institutions.

This is the 10th time in Liberty's 17 seasons as a Big South member the Lady Flames have started conference play with a 2-0 record. Liberty went on to win the Big South title on nine of those occasions, with the only exception coming last season.

Big South Recognition
Liberty became the first conference team to garner a quartet of Big South Player of the Week honors this season, and Megan Frazee became the first three-time winner of the award. Frazee earned the honor on Nov. 26, Jan. 7 and Jan. 21, while sister Moriah Frazee was recognized on Dec. 10. Megan Frazee has captured nine Big South Player of the Week awards in her career, while the conference honor was the first of sister Moriah Frazee's time at Liberty.

Liberty Versus Non-Conference Opposition
The Lady Flames own a 259-284 all-time record against non-conference competition. Liberty's best season against non-conference foes came in 1997-98, when the Lady Flames went 14-1 outside the Big South. Liberty's lone non-conference setback that season came to eventual national champion Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Lady Flames are 14-2 in non-conference tilts during the 2007-08 season, and today's game is Liberty's last non-conference matchup of the regular season.

Liberty Wraps Up Another Winning Season
With Monday's win at Coastal Carolina, Liberty's 16th of the year, the Lady Flames have clinched their 12th-consecutive winning season and the 16th in program history. Additonally, Liberty has recorded 13 winning seasons in its 20 campaigns as a NCAA Division I member.

Receiving Some Recognition
Liberty received its first Top 25 vote of the season in the Dec. 10 AP Top 25 poll. The Lady Flames notched a season-high eight votes on Dec. 24 and earned seven votes in the most recent poll, released on Jan. 21.

In the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, Liberty garnered its first vote on Dec. 18 and received 11 votes, equaling its most so far this season, in the Jan. 22 poll. The Lady Flames had the 34th-most votes in the most recent poll.

Lady Flames in Elite Company
Liberty is both shooting the ball well from the field and limiting its opponents' field goal percentage this season. The Lady Flames rank 16th nationally in field goal percentage (.465) and are eighth in field goal percentage defense (.343). Liberty is one of six teams in the nation to rank in the top 20 in both categories, joining No. 1 Connecticut, No. 3 North Carolina, No. 6 Baylor, No. 12 West Virginia and Utah.