JACKSON, Tenn. - 3/23/2008 -
Lady Bulldogs Still Alive for Possible Third Championship in Last Four Seasons
The Union (Tenn.) University Lady Bulldogs, the No. 1 overall seed in the 28th Annual NAIA DI Women's Basketball National Championships, remained perfect on the season with an 82-57 win over No. 3 seed Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) College. The win for Union advances them to their fourth straight semifinal round and ninth semifinal in program history.
Union has now won 16 of their last 17 national tournament games over the past four seasons, and has done so at a clip of 18.4 points per game. In this year's tournament, the 35-0 Union Lady Bulldogs have won their three games by 23.7 points per game.
Union scored first in the game to take a 2-0 lead on a basket from sophomore Kaitlin Dudley. Lewis-Clark State quickly answered with four straight points to take a 4-2 lead. That lead proved to be short-lived as Union posted a 7-0 run to go up 9-4 with 16:21 left in the first half. The Warriors of Lewis-Clark State cut the Union lead down to one point mid-way through the first half, but the Lady Bulldogs never relinquished the lead. With 5:21 left in the first half, Union's Dudley completed a three-point-play to put Union up by double figures for the first time in the game. This play was in the midst of a 23-4 run that helped the Union lead balloon to 20 points, 34-14 with 2:57 left in the half. Lewis-Clark State tried to remain close as 7-0 run to close the half put Union's halftime lead at 34-21.
The Lady Bulldogs held the 13-point halftime lead with junior All-American Josephine Owino being held scoreless in the first half. Owino finished the game with a season low six points.
Union opened the second half with a 9-2 run to go back up by 20. Union stretched the lead to as many 29 points, 72-43, on a three-pointer from Jackson native Lindsey Flynn with 6:46 left in the game. Union coasted to the 82-57 final as both teams emptied their benches in the final minutes.
The NAIA's No. 1 field goal shooting team and No. 2 three-point shooting team posted 51-percent from the field, including 43-percent (9-21) from behind the arc. Union posted their lowest point total of the tournament, but also allowed the lowest point total from their opponent, by hold the Warriors to just 32-percent shooting from the field.
Union was led by Dudley with a game-high 21 points, including 3-of-5 from behind the arc. Crystal Eason added 15 points with 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range. Jessica Graves added 12 points, while Zeniab Chan posted 11 points and 11 rebounds. Union committed just 12 turnovers in the game, while forcing 16 by the Warriors. Union was able to post 29 points off turnovers in the contest.
Lewis-Clark State (28-5) was led by Vanessa West with 18 points. Mandy Troutt added 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Jade Fulbright scored 10 points.
Union advances to play Vanguard in the second semifinal game on Monday night at 8:00 pm.
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