Charleston Southern will travel to Lynchburg for a clash with the Liberty Flames on Friday night. Tipoff between the Buccaneers and the Flames is set for 7:00 p.m. on the Big South Network and fans can follow the action via Live Stats on CSUsports.com and in-game updates on Twitter: @CSUGameDay.
Liberty is coming off back-to-back losses after falling on the road at High Point and Presbyterian last week. Prior to those defeats, the Flames were tied for first in the Big South Conference. Now, Liberty is tied for the No. 4 spot with Charleston Southern and Presbyterian with an 8-5 mark in the league. Last time against the Buccaneers, Liberty was hot beyond the arc and sealed their 13th straight win against CSU, defeating the Bucs 81-72 at home. Both teams enter Friday's matchup with winning streaks at home as CSU comes off its sixth home-win and Liberty goes for its eighth straight victory at home. Having the home court advantage against the Buccaneers has ignited the Flames in years past, recording 22 consecutive wins in home meetings with CSU.
Liberty is led by Keyen Green. The six-time Big South Come Ready Nutrition Freshman of the Week is averaging 12.4 points per game and leads the conference with 8.3 rebounds per game. Green recorded one of her seven double-doubles this season against CSU, finishing the game with 10 points, 14 rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots. As a team, Liberty leads the league with a rebounding offense of 43.3 boards per game and a rebound margin of 7.7.
The Flames are coached by Carey Green. Green is in his 18th season as head coach and has accumulated a 403-141 record in 17 seasons on the Liberty bench for a .741 winning percentage. Entering the 2016-17 season, Green was ranked 13th among active NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches in winning percentage.
Last Time Against Liberty
Liberty 81, Charleston Southern 72 (January 3, 2017)
Charleston Southern's fourth quarter comeback effort fell short as the Buccaneers were topped by Liberty in their conference opener on Tuesday night, 81-72.
Rachel Burns scored a career-high 22 points, hitting nine field goals from the floor, including three from beyond the arc. Ke'Asia Jackson was the only other Buccaneer to go double-digits, capturing her 14th point in the final second of the contest. The Irmo, S.C., native earned her seventh perfect performance from the stripe, going a perfect 7-for-7 from the free-throw line.
Lela Sellers led Liberty with 21 points. The freshman connected on a game-high four three-pointers and was perfect from the charity line, hitting all five of her attempts. Nene Johnson (13), Audrey Rettstatt (10) and Keyen Green (10) also scored double-digits for the Flames.
Jackson got the Buccaneers (6-6, 0-1) going early, scoring CSU's first five points. The Flames (2-10, 1-0) responded with a 7-0 scoring run, but Alyssa Mann fired back with a pair of jumpers and Burns added a bucket for six unanswered points to narrow the gap to 17-15. Jackson put the Buccaneers within one point with a three-pointer at the buzzer, 19-18.
Burns gave the Bucs' their first lead in the contest with a three to open the second quarter and put CSU ahead, 21-19. The advantage was short-lived as the Flames sunk three baskets from beyond the arc in the first four minutes. Shauntavia Dobson provided a spark off the bench with eight points over four minutes of play. The 4-11 guard hit all three of her shots, including a pair of three-pointers, to cut Liberty's lead down to 40-38 at the end of the half.
The Flames utilized a 6-0 scoring run to build an eight-point lead in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Burns and Jackson again led the Bucs' comeback with Burns connecting on a three-pointer, while Jackson sank a pair of free throws to keep the game at 50-47. Sellers responded with a three-pointer for the Flames as Liberty held the 55-48 lead after three quarters.
Liberty's defense stifled the Buccaneers in the fourth period as the Flames controlled the battle of the boards with a 40-25 rebound advantage in the contest. Liberty widened their lead to double-digits in the fourth quarter and went ahead by 14 points two separate times before a late CSU run at the end of the game. Georgia Elliott-King hit a late basket from the left short corner and Jackson closed out the contest with a layup at the buzzer in CSU's 81-72 defeat against their first conference opponent of the season.
Recapping CSU's Last Game
Charleston Southern 73, UNC Asheville 66 (February 14, 2017)
Charleston Southern earned its sixth straight home win after defeating UNC Asheville 73-66 on Tuesday night. Rachel Burns paced the Buccaneers (14-10, 8-5) with a team-high 18 points, while Ke'Asia Jackson and Alyssa Mann contributed 16 points apiece in the CSU win.
Charleston Southern held the lead for 38 of the 40 minutes of play and outrebounded UNC Asheville (11-13, 5-8) in the conference rematch. Elyse Kiploks led the Bucs with a game-high 10 rebounds and was just shy of a double-double with nine points.
After UNC Asheville got on the board first with a layup from Khalia Webb, CSU went on an 8-0 scoring run over three minutes for the 8-2 lead early in the first quarter. The Bulldogs responded with a jumper from KJ Weaver and a pair of free throws from Chatori Major to put the game within two. CSU closed out the quarter with another scoring run as Jasmine Blackmon added a jumper, Burns drained a three and Mann finished a Kiploks' block with a layup off the fast break for the 17-10 lead. Both Mann and Burns reached double digits in the second quarter as the Buccaneers secured a double-digit lead for the last seven minutes before the half. Mann added a three-pointer and a steal to close out the first half with the 37-25 CSU lead. Mann finished the night with a game-high of four steals and a game-high six assists.
The Bulldogs were able to shave the Buccaneers' lead down to just six points in the third quarter as CSU found themselves in foul trouble. Chatori Major opened the half with a jumper for her 10th point and Sonora Dengokl followed with a layup. Webb sealed the 6-0 run with a jumper to put the score at 37-31 less than two minutes into the second half. Major led the Bulldogs with a team-high 18 points and four three-pointers. Jessica Wall added 16 points and a team-high five free throws in the Bulldogs' loss, while Bronaza Fitzgerald recorded 11 points and seven rebounds.
The Buccaneers had 10 fouls called on them in the third quarter and sent the Bulldogs to the charity line three times in the period. UNC Asheville struggled from the stripe, shooting 59.1 percent against CSU's 78.6 percent. Jackson recorded the Bucs' last five points of the quarter and Fitzgerald split a pair of free throws as CSU led 50-39 with 10 minutes left to play.
CSU would not relinquish its lead in the final quarter. Wall put up an impressive 13 points in the fourth, including two three-pointers, but the Bulldogs offensive effort fell short of a comeback. The Buccaneers wrapped up the home win with baskets from Burns, Jackson and Blackmon, while Mann and Kiploks each added a three-pointer in the 73-66 CSU win.
Buccaneers' Standings in the Big South and the NCAA
- Alyssa Mann leads the Big South with 4.3 assists per game and is ranked 112th in the NCAA
- Alyssa Mann is 4th in the Big South with 2.1 steals per game and 110th in the NCAA
- Ke'Asia Jackson leads the Big South in free-throw percentage with 87.0 and is ranked 25th in the NCAA
- Ke'Asia Jackson is 2nd in the Big South in points per game with 15.0
- Ke'Asia Jackson is 3rd in the Big South in field-goal percentage with 43.6
- Rachel Burns is tied for 2nd in the Big South with 2.2 steals per game and 92nd in the NCAA
- Elyse Kiploks is 3rd in the Big South in blocked shots with 28
- Elyse Kiploks is 3rd in the Big South in blocked shots per game with 1.2
Team Standings in the Big South and the NCAA
- Charleston Southern leads the Big South in turnovers forced with 21.21 and is ranked 16th in the NCAA
- Charleston Southern leads the Big South in turnover margin with 5.79 and is ranked 18th in the NCAA
- Charleston Southern leads the Big South in steals with 218
- Charleston Southern leads the Big South in steals per game with 9.1
- Charleston Southern is 2nd in the Big South in assist turnover ratio with 0.81
- Charleston Southern is 2nd in the Big South in assists per game with 12.5
- Charleston Southern is 2nd in the Big South in fewest turnovers with 370
- Charleston Southern is 3rd in the Big South in won-lost percentage with 58.3