Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The schedule report: Liberty

We chill out from women's basketball for a few days to lock in on the U.S. Open (Way to go, Sam! Holla, Novak! Ouch, Fed!) and bam! - 2011-12 schedules all over the place. So now, slowly but surely, we're taking a look at them one-by-one. Our series continues with....

(click on the link for the school's release)

On the marquee

Liberty vs. Oklahoma, Nov. 25
   - We love it when the teams test themselves against heavyweights and Oklahoma, led by the talented (and fashionable) Sherri Coale, is about as heavyweight as women's basketball gets this side of Storrs. The teams will meet in the first round of  the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament; the winner gets either Vandy or Lipscomb. For what it's worth, we like Vandy in that matchup.

Get your tickets early for....

James Madison at Liberty, Dec. 1
   - The Dukes have won three straight in the series and are 6-1 lifetime against Liberty. Two years ago, JMU snapped Liberty's 12-game home winning streak. This time, maybe a strong turnout at the Vines Center can help the Lady Flames do something about all that.

Food for thought

- The Lady Flames currently have home games against Virginia-Wise (NAIA) and Division II opponents Glenville State and Virginia Union. We were all set to tease Liberty coach Carey Green about a weak schedule, but then we took another look at the Lady Flames' conference record over the years and figured the man obviously knows a few things about getting a team ready for league play. Having said that, we reserve the right to toss in a wisecrack or two when these games come around.

- Other games against schools in Virginia: vs. VCU on Nov. 15; at Virginia on Dec. 7; at Richmond on Dec. 20 and twice against Big South rival Radford (away on Dec. 31, home on March 2).

- The Lady Flames open their season on Nov. 11 at UNC Greensboro. The game will mark the head-coaching debut of former Virginia great Wendy Palmer, who in April replaced longtime Spartans head coach Lynne Agee. 

- Liberty fans will definitely want to highlight the two games against Gardner-Webb (Jan. 30 away, Feb. 25 home), as the two teams have staged dramatic battles in the last three Big South title games. The Lady Flames won the first two, but Gardner-Webb prevailed 67-66 in the 2011 title game to deal Liberty its first loss in 14 trips to the Big South final.

- Instead of the usual 16-game conference schedule, Big South teams will play an 18-game slate with the addition of new league member Campbell.

- The Big South Tournament will be held March 9-11 at High Point for the fourth year in a row.

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