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Union Women Ranked No. 1 in NAIA Preseason Poll

JACKSON, Tenn. - 10/31/2007 - For the second straight season, the Union University Lady Bulldogs have been tabbed as the No. 1 ranked team in the NAIA Women’s Basketball Preseason Rankings. Union received nine of the 11 first place votes to earn the top ranking. Last season, Union and Vanguard University (Calif.) were ranked as Co-No. 1 ranked teams.

Union, who was also voted No. 1 in the TranSouth Coach’s Poll, once again begins with high expectations. Union is returning their leading scorer from last season, and also the top three-point-shooter from the 2005 and 2006 teams that won national titles. The Lady Bulldogs of Union are preparing in hopes of winning a third NAIA National Championship in the past four years. The team also eyes their second straight conference championship and 10th TranSouth Title in the 12-year history of the conference.

Union returns four of the top five leading scorers from last year’s team, plus Merideth Richardson Jacobs (leading three-point shooter from 2005 and 2006 national title teams) who is coming off a medical redshirt season. Kaitlin Dudley led Union in scoring last season as a freshman (14.0), while Owino was second in the nation with 64-percent field goal shooting. Richardson Jacobs, Owino, and Dudley have each been NAIA All-Americans during their Union careers.

The six returning players will lead the largest freshman class that Head Coach Mark Campbell has had in his nine years at Union. Six freshmen will come in and be required to contribute early to the success of Union Lady Bulldog basketball.

Crystal Eason is the lone senior on this team for Union. She has proven to be one of the best shooters in the NAIA. Eason made a team-high 85 three pointers last season for 40-percent.

The junior class returns Josephine Owino, Merideth Richardson Jacobs, and Jessica Graves. Owino and Graves averaged 12.3 and 9.8 points per game respectively last season for Union. Richardson Jacobs led Union in 2006 with 89 made three pointers and also led the team with 117 made three as a freshman in 2005.

Two Lady Bulldogs return as sophomores including NAIA All-American and leading scorer Kaitlin Dudley. Her 14.0 points per game as a freshman proved she could score from any position on the floor. Dudley led the team in field goals made, second on the team with 81 three pointers made, and led the team with 98 free throws made. Jackson native Lindsay Flynn also returns from a freshman season in which she played in 25 of the team’s 36 games to gain valuable experience.

Coach Campbell’s largest freshman class is made up of six players. Laura Crittendon was at Union last year, but suffered a season ending injury in preseason practice. Newcomers to the program include guards Ella Joines and Kayla Hudson. Latoya Bellamy and Zeinab Chan will replenish the forward position, while Beatrice Awino comes to Union as a center. These six freshmen boast impressive credentials from their high school days: Hudson (Miss Basketball), Bellamy (two-time Miss Basketball runner-up), Joines (England's junior national team), Crittendon (school record for made 3’s, All-District), Chan (MVP, 6-foot-4), and Awino (6-foot-6).

#UNION#


Steven Aldridge
Phone: (731) 661-5027
Sports Information
Fax: (731) 661-5182

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