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Ex-Clovis standout enjoying Liberty

Helped Clovis win 1999 state basketball title

Liberty University coach Carey Green said it’s impossible to talk about Aundrea Dawson the basketball player without talking about the former Clovis standout as a person first.

Dawson, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, is trying to help Liberty advance past the first round of the NCAA women’s tournament for the first time in eight tries.

The 14th-seeded Flames (25-6) play No. 3 Georgia (22-9) at 9 a.m. Saturday in a West Regional game in Philadelphia. The game is scheduled to be carried at least in part on ESPN.

Dawson averages 6.4 points and 3.7 rebounds for Liberty, winner of the Big South Conference.

“I can’t separate the two,” Green said in a phone interview Thursday from Philadelphia. “She’s just a wonderful person and that carries over to the basketball court. She’s willing to do anything on or off the basketball court to help you out.”

Led by two-time Big South player of the year, 6-8 junior Katie Feenstra, the Flames are playing traditional Southeastern Conference power Georgia for the third time in eight years.

“We’re hungry for a win,” Green said. “I can’t really complain, but I wish it would be somebody easier.”

Dawson said the Lynchburg, Va., school founded by moral majority leader Jerry Falwell has been a great fit.

“It’s been a great year,” said Dawson, who played on the 1999 Clovis girls state championship team and also helped Clovis win back-to-back state track titles in 1998-99. “It’s been pretty much been what I wanted as a player.

“Plus, it’s made me a better person and a better Christian.”

Green, in his fifth season at Liberty, said Dawson is the best athlete on the team and one of the best in the country.

“You won’t see a stronger, quicker player on the floor Saturday,” Green said. “In reality, she’s a track athlete playing basketball.”

Dawson, who spent her first two years at South Plains Junior College in Levelland, Texas, ran track her junior year at Liberty but is undecided if she will run again this spring.

She said performing in the school’s Gospel choir eats up a lot of her time.