JACKSON, Tenn. - 11/15/2007 - The No. 1 ranked Union University Lady Bulldogs pulled out an 86-80 win in the opening game of the 14th Annual Jackson Rotary Classic versus No. 3 Lee University (Tenn.). The win puts the Lady Bulldogs at a perfect 4-0 while Lee dropped their first game of the year to fall to 4-1.
In the first half, Lee jumped out to an early 18-10 lead with 10:56 left in the half. However, over the next nine minutes, Union posted a 31-7 run to take a 16 point lead (41-25). After a Lee basket in the final minute of the half, Union held a 41-27 halftime lead.
To start the second half, Lee quickly cut the Union lead to 10 points. But Union, determined to hold on to their No. 1 ranking, pushed the lead up to a game-high 17 points at 57-40 with just over 13 minutes remaining.
The final 13 minutes of the game proved that both teams were among the top teams in the NAIA as the swapped baskets in a fast paced second half. Lee, who had struggled from the three point line early in the game, started hitting three pointers. However, Union’s Josephine Owino, who finished with a game-high 34 points and 12 rebounds, couldn’t be stopped on Union’s end. But with Lee making three pointers (7-of-14 in the second half compared to just 2-of-12 in the first half), the Lady Flames cut the Union lead to just three points at 83-80. With 17 seconds left, Lee guard Aaron Richmond saank the three pointer that got the Lady Flames just one basket away from the tie. However, Union’s 81-percent shooting from the free throw line in the game helped seal the win over the final seconds.
Union, normally a paced by outstanding three point shooting, was held to just 3-of-13 for the game, including 0-of-2 in the second half.
Owino, this week’s TranSouth Conference Player of the Week, posted a double-double to lead Union with 34 points and 12 rebounds. She made 13-of-18 field goals and 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Kaitlin Dudley scored 20 points and Union’s lone senior Crystal Eason added 11 points. Union freshman guard, Kayla Hudson from Gleason High School, played all 40 minutes of the game. She recorded eight assists and no turnovers.
Lee was led by Katie Nelson with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Jan Dodson added 18 points, Jessica Still posted 18 points, and Aaron Richmond scored 10 points.
Up next for Union will be a game with No. 19 The Master’s College (Calif.) on Friday night at 7:00 pm in the Rotary Classic.
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