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Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.) vs. Lady Bulldog Basketball

Mon, March 10, 2003  7:00 p.m.  Union
Union Result: W 77-72
TranSouth Conference Championship

Union Captures Eighth Straight Conference Championship

The Union University Lady Bulldogs earned their eighth straight conference Championship with a 77-72 win over Freed-Hardeman. This also marked their seventh consecutive TranSouth Championship since the league's beginning in the 1996-97 season. Union, ranked No. 3 in the NAIA improves to 33-2 on the season as No. 6 Freed-Hardeman falls to 30-5. Union earns the TranSouth's automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament which begins next Wednesday, March 19 at Oman Arena. Freed-Hardeman will earn an at-large bid to the national tournament.

Jessica Henson of Union proved why she is one of the elite players in the nation as she posted a game-high 27 points, with 15 of those coming in the second half. Union jumped out to an early lead on the Lady Lions to grab what would be their biggest lead of the game at 26-12. Freed-Hardeman mounted a rally over the next ten minutes and go on a 14-4 run to cut the lead to just four at 30-26. Each team added a basket to make the halftime score 32-28 Union.

In the second half, Freed-Hardeman came out rolling as they jumped out to a six point lead, 43-37 at the 16 minute mark. That was their largest lead of the game as on the next possesion, Union's Laura Mitchell made her first of two big three pointers to cut the lead to just three. Union's comeback had started as with 11 minutes left in the game, the Lady Bulldogs went on top by one at 51-50. Union trailed only twice the remainder of the game, each time by just one point. With just over two minutes left, Union had built a 73-67 lead. However, it wasn't over yet as Freed-Hardeman's easy layup on a Union turnover in the backcourt cut the lead to just three. Freed regained possesion on a Union shotclock violation with 19 seconds left. A three point attempt fell short and Jessica Henson's rebound force Freed-Hardeman to foul. With four seconds left, Jessica Henson made two free throws to seal the title for Union.

Jessica Henson's 27 points led all scorers. Jennifer Henson scored 14 points for Union and Tashekia Brown added 12 points. Ginger Bryant scored eight points and led with nine rebounds. Freed-Hardeman was paced by Jessica Woodard with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Ashlee Roberton added 17 points and Mary Beth Berry scored 15. Union shot 48% from the field including 37% (7-19) from behind the arc. Freed posted 45% percent but only 14% (2-14) from behind the arc. Union committed 18 turnovers in the game and Freed-Hardeman scored 23 points off those turnovers. Union held the rebound edge 39-34.

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