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Liberty, High Point to Battle for First Place

January 29, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Last time Liberty played High Point, Rachel McLeod dished out a career-high eight assists, during the semifinal round of the 2008 Big South Women's Basketall Championship.

Last time Liberty played High Point, Rachel McLeod dished out a career-high eight assists, during the semifinal round of the 2008 Big South Women's Basketall Championship.

Complete Game Notes (PDF format)

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Game Day Central

The Game
The Liberty Lady Flames (12-7, 6-0 Big South) play host to the High Point Panthers (10-10, 6-1 Big South) in a battle between the first and second-place teams in the Big South Conference standings. Tip-off at the Vines Center is scheduled for 2 p.m., Saturday afternoon.

What to Watch
Saturday's game will match up one of the Big South's most experienced teams with one of the conference's youngest squads. The Lady Flames feature six seniors, three of whom start for Head Coach Carey Green. Meanwhile, the Panthers rely heavily on young talent, including 2008 Big South Freshman of the Year Mackenzie Maier and a favorite for this year's conference freshman of the year plaudit, Shamia Brown.

Several streaks will be on the line for Liberty. The Lady Flames have won nine games in a row overall, 16 straight January contests and 36 consecutive January home games. Liberty is trying to complete its second consecutive unbeaten January.

Lady Flames On The Air
All Lady Flames basketball games may be heard LIVE on WWMC 90.9 FM "The Light." Jamie Hall, celebrating his 15th year of broadcasting Lady Flames basketball, will once again be handling the courtside play-by-play duties for most road games. Josh Wood will serve as the commentator for home contests and will provide color analysis on the road.

Lady Flames On TV
For the sixth season in a row, the Flames Television Network (FTN) plans to broadcast all 12 home women's basketball games. FTN's regular announcing team will consist of Ray Jones on play-by-play and Jamie Hall on color.

Scouting High Point
Eight of Head Coach Tooey Loy's players are either freshmen or sophomores, but the young Panthers have won six of their first seven conference games, claiming second place in the Big South standings.

High Point boasts a trio of double-digit scorers, led by 5-4 sophomore guard Jurica Hargraves, who notches 13.4 ppg. Shamia Brown, a 5-11 freshman forward, is averaging 11.6 ppg and a team-high 5.9 rpg. She is a four-time Big South Freshman of the Week and is a leading contender for this year's Big South Freshman of the Year honor.

Last season's Big South Freshman of the year, 6-3 forward Mackenzie Maier, is contributing 10.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 2.5 bpg. She leads the conference in both blocked shots and three-point field goal percentage (.471).

The Panthers have struggled away from the Millis Center this season, going just 2-9 in road/neutral contests.

The Coaching Matchup
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green is in his 10th season with the Lady Flames, and has led his team to eight Big South titles. A four-time Big South Coach of the Year, Green owns a 225-75 career record and is the all-time wins leader at Liberty and among Big South women's basketball coaches. His career winning percentage (.750) ranked 10th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches at the season's outset. Green is 18-5 all-time against High Point.

Tooey Loy owns a 125-100 record in his eighth season coaching at his alma mater. He is a two-time Big South Coach of the Year (2005 and 2007) and has led the Panthers to five top-three finishes in the Big South regular-season standings. He is 4-13 versus Liberty during his coaching career.

Liberty-High Point Series Notes
Liberty owns a 22-8 lead in the all-time head-to-head series with High Point, but the Panthers have enjoyed the most success against the Lady Flames of any Big South team in recent years. High Point is 4-5 in its last nine meetings with Liberty.

The Lady Flames swept all three games against the Panthers last season, earning a 76-57 home decision on Jan. 29, winning 78-68 at the Millis Center on Feb. 23 and eliminating High Point in the Big South Championship semifinal round, 80-43 on March 15.

In 2006-07, High Point swept the season series from the Lady Flames, becoming the only Big South team in the last 11 seasons to do so.

Sisters Megan and Moriah Frazee have flourished against High Point. Megan Frazee is averaging 18.4 ppg and 9.4 rpg in five career meetings with the Panthers, including a 26-point, 14-rebound outburst at High Point last season. Meanwhile, Moriah Frazee is posting 13.4 ppg and 7.0 rpg versus High Point during her career, including a career-high 20-point effort during Liberty's home win over the Panthers last year.

Jurica Hargraves shot extremely well against Liberty as a freshman last season. She canned 11 three-pointers in three matchups against the Lady Flames, with six of them coming in the Big South Championship tilt. Hargraves averaged 17.0 ppg versus Liberty in 2007-08.

New Year's Resolution
Liberty owns a 154-105 all-time record in January contests, after winning its first seven contests of 2009. Head coach Carey Green has gone 70-8 with the Lady Flames during the year's opening month, including a 7-0 January last season.

The Lady Flames have won 36 straight home games during the month of January. Liberty has not lost a January contest at the Vines Center since Jan. 13, 2000, when Elon dealt the Lady Flames a 77-72 setback.

Liberty has won 16 consecutive January contests overall, since a 64-62 overtime loss at High Point on Jan. 20, 2007.

Green's Perfect 300
Monday's game was the 300th contest of Carey Green's coaching career at Liberty, and it came against his alma mater, Coastal Carolina. The Lady Flames' victory boosted his career winning percentage to exactly 75 percent (225-75).

Recipe For Success
Liberty has won nine consecutive games, and the following are a few keys the Lady Flames' success.

-- All nine opponents have been held below 60 points.

-- All nine opponents have shot below 40 percent from the field.

-- Liberty has outrebounded eight of nine opponents by 11 boards or more.

-- Megan Frazee has averaged 18.4 ppg and 9.0 rpg, since returning from an ankle injury which sidelined her for eight games.

-- Avery Warley has boosted her production to 8.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg and 1.7 bpg.

-- The Lady Flames' starting backcourt of Amber Mays and Rachel Hammond has posted 57 assists, 40 steals and only 34 turnovers.

Long-Range Bombers
Liberty has begun to find its outside shooting touch recently, sinking 27 triples and shooting 45 percent from beyond the three-point arc in the last four games.

Leading the way are two of the most prolific three-point shooters in program history. Megan Frazee, ranked ninth on Liberty's career list with 87 triples, has hit 12 of her last 21 from downtown (57.1 percent).

Rachel Hammond, whose 62 career three-pointers put her 15th on the list, has connected on 10 of her last 16 three-point attempts (62.5 percent). Hammond has made six consecutive three-pointers, during her last two appearances.

Hammond tied a career high with four triples in the Lady Flames' win over Charleston Southern on Jan. 24. It was the first time a Lady Flame has hit a quartet of three-pointers this season.

Turning Up the Heat in the Furnace
The 2008-09 campaign is the 17th season the Liberty University women's basketball team has called the Vines Center its full-time home. Liberty's first-ever contest at the Vines Center was an 86-74 loss to East Tennessee State, on Dec. 7, 1990, but the "Furnace" has served as a favorable venue for the Lady Flames over the years. Liberty is 183-51 (.782) all-time at the Vines Center, including 13-0 last season. The Lady Flames, 5-2 at the Vines Center in 2008-09, have 12 home games scheduled this season.

Winning Streaks
The Lady Flames are currently on a nine-game winning streak, as they have not lost a game since falling at No. 19/20 Vanderbilt on Dec. 22.

The streak is tied for the 10th longest in program history. Here is a look at the Lady Flames' longest winning streaks, nine of which have come with Carey Green as head coach.

1) 28 games (Nov. 21, 1997 - Feb. 28, 1998)
2) 22 games (Dec. 21, 2002 - March 9, 2003)
3) 19 games (Jan. 6, 2004 - March 13, 2004)
4) 14 games (Jan. 28, 2006 - March 11, 2006)
5T) 13 games (Jan. 5, 2008 - Feb. 23, 2008)
5T) 13 games (Jan. 24, 2002 - March 2, 2002)
7T) 12 games (Jan. 15, 2005 - Feb. 21, 2005)
7T) 12 games (Jan. 23, 1999 - Feb. 27, 1999)
9) 11 games (Feb. 3, 2000 - March 4, 2000)
10T) 9 games (Dec. 29, 2008 - Present)
10T) 9 games (Nov. 23, 2007 - Dec. 21, 2007)

Nation's Longest Winning Streaks
Liberty has won nine games in a row, which is tied for the ninth-longest active winning streak among NCAA Division I women's basketball games, through Jan. 28.

Auburn and Connecticut have both won a nation-best 20 games in a row.

Reaching the Century Mark
Moriah Frazee made the 100th start of her career on Jan. 24, making her the first Lady Flame with 100 starts since 2000 graduates Elena Kisseleva (117 career starts) and Sharon Wilkerson (107).

Lack of Overtime
Liberty has played only one overtime game in its last 165 outings, a 64-62 setback at High Point on Jan. 20, 2007.

The Lady Flames' most recent overtime victory came on Jan. 6, 2004, when Liberty defeated American, 76-72, on the road in double overtime. No current Lady Flame has won an overtime contest in college.

Liberty's most recent overtime contest at the Vines Center was a memorable one. The Lady Flames defeated Virginia, 77-69, in overtime on Nov. 26, 2002, to claim their first-ever win over the Cavaliers. It also marked Liberty's first win over a ranked opponent, as Virginia entered the game with a No. 25 national ranking.

The Container is Half Full
Liberty connected on 54.9 percent (28-of-51) of its field goal attempts versus Coastal Carolina Monday, shooting over 50 percent for the second game in a row. The Lady Flames are 3-0 this year, when making more than half of their field goals.

The Lady Flames went 9-0 last season when shooting 50 percent or higher, and Liberty is now 52-0 in such contests under head coach Carey Green.

A Boost from the Bench
Liberty's bench was a short one for a good portion of the year, as the Lady Flames battled the injury bug. Since Rebecca Lightfoot returned from injury, though, the bench has played a key role in the Lady Flames' success.

Liberty's bench has outscored its opponent's bench in five of the six games since Lightfoot's return, helping the Lady Flames win each of those contests. This season, Liberty is 8-2 when its reserves score more points than the opponents' bench performers.

Chief Thiefs
Starting guards Amber Mays and Rachel Hammond have been keys to Liberty's defensive efforts, as they rank fifth and seventh, respectively, on the Big South steals leaderboard.

Mays has notched 23 steals in the past six games, including a career-high eight-steal effort versus East Tennessee State on Jan. 13. Her eight steals were the most by a Lady Flame since Sharon Wilkerson recorded eight thefts at High Point on Feb. 21, 2000. Mays tied for the fifth-most steals in a single game in Liberty history.

Seven more steals will make Mays the first Liberty player since Sharon Wilkerson in 1999-2000 to record 50 steals in a season.

Meanwhile, Hammond has been a consistent disruptive force on defense this season, tallying multiple steals in 12 of the first 19 games. As a result, the senior has already established a career high with 36 steals.

Triple the Trouble
Liberty sports the only set of triplets currently playing for the same NCAA Division I women's basketball team--seniors Megan, Molly and Moriah Frazee. Career totals of 1,000 points and 500 rebounds represent a very solid collegiate performer. The Frazee triplets have averaged more than 1,000 points and 500 rebounds between them.

During Liberty's Jan. 3 victory over Gardner-Webb, the triplets exceeded the 3,000-career point total. Megan, Molly and Moriah Frazee have totaled 3,189 points and 1,656 rebounds during their time at Liberty. Those figures represent 43.0 percent of the Lady Flames' points and 34.5 percent of the team's rebounds since they arrived on campus.

Clamping Down on Defense
The Lady Flames have held 70 consecutive opponents under 50 percent field goal shooting. The last Liberty foe to sink more than half of its field goal attempts was Marist, at the Maryland Terrapin Classic on Dec. 29, 2006.

Liberty is off to a good start defensively in 2008-09. Fourteen of the Lady Flames' first 19 opponents, including the last nine in a row, have shot below 40 percent from the floor. Liberty leads the Big South and ranks No. 30 nationally with a .353 opponents field goal percentage.

The Lady Flames are 12-2 this season when their opponents shoot under 40 percent from the field, but 0-5 when their foes make at least 40 percent of their field goal tries.

Climbing the Big South Rebounding Ladder
Megan Frazee's nine rebounds versus Charleston Southern on Jan. 24 made her the 10th player in Big South Conference history to pull down 800 career boards.

Frazee will pass Tammy Brown of Campbell, a 1991 graduate, for ninth place on the Big South career rebounding list with four more rebounds.

In Good Company
On Monday, Megan Frazee was honored as Big South Women's Basketball Player of the Week. It was the third time the senior has captured the award this season and was her 15th career weekly conference honor.

Frazee is now tied with former Liberty standout Katie Feenstra for the most Big South Player of the Week awards captured during a career, in conference history.

Cranking Up the Defense
Liberty has played exceptional defense during its current nine-game winning streak. The Lady Flames have held North Carolina A&T, Virginia Tech, Gardner-Webb and Coastal Carolina all to season-low point totals during the stretch. Liberty's nine foes have scored only 48.4 ppg against Liberty and have combined to shoot just 32.8 percent from the field.

Winning the Battle of the Boards
The Lady Flames have outrebounded 15 teams in their first 19 games of the season. Only three teams (Western Carolina, James Madison and Winthrop) have won the rebounding battle against Liberty this season, as the Lady Flames lead the Big South Conference with a +9.7 rebounding margin.

Liberty, which currently ranks No. 10 nationally for rebounding margin, has finished in the top five nationally in the category for five consecutive seasons. The Lady Flames led the nation in rebounding margin during both the 2003-04 and 2004-05 campaigns.