NASHVILLE, Tenn. - 10/23/2008 - The TranSouth Athletic Conference women's basketball coaches have designated Union University as the team most likely to win this year's TranSouth title in the annual preseason coaches' poll.
The Bulldogs, who have won the two conference championships, received all nine of the first place votes and totaled 81 points. Freed-Hardeman University finished second with 66 points. The Lions reached the Fab Four last season. Trevecca, who finished as the 2008 National Runner-up, was voted third with 65 points. Bethel College is fourth with 51 points. Martin Methodist is just two points back in fifth place with 49 points.
In the 12-year history of the TranSouth, Union has won 10 regular season titles and nine tournament titles. Union has also played in four straight NAIA National Tournament Semifinals, including winning two national titles in 2005 and 2006.
Below the coaches poll you'll find a capsule on every team in the conference.
TranSouth Women's Basketball
Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Union University - 81 (9)
2. Freed-Hardeman - 66
3. Trevecca Nazarene - 65
4. Bethel College - 51
5. Martin Methodist - 49
6. Cumberland University - 36
7. Lyon College - 31
8. Blue Mountain - 17
9. Mid-Continent - 10
Votes were given with a value of 9=1 point and 1=9 points.
Union is returning four starters from last season's team that posted a perfect 29-0 regular season record. Union also won the TranSouth Conference Regular Season and Tournament titles for the second straight year, and participated in their fourth straight NAIA Fab Four last season. Returning to the floor are 2008 All-Americans Josephine Owino, Kaitlin Dudley, and Kayla Hudson. Merideth Richardson Jacobs has also earned All-American honors in her career. Union's only loss from last year’s squad was senior guard Crystal Eason who was named honorable mentioned All-American in 2008.
The Lady Bulldogs have solid experience returning in their senior class, led by 2008 NAIA & WBCA Player of the Year Josephine Owino. Guard Merideth Richardson Jacobs and guard Jessica Graves also return for their senior seasons. All three seniors have played at Union for four seasons. Jacobs was a member of 2005 and 2006 NAIA National Title teams, while Owino and Graves were freshmen on the 2006 title team.
Kaitlin Dudley leads the junior class as she enters her third season at Union, along with Lindsey Flynn. Dudley and Flynn are joined this year by two junior college transfers to round out the class. Ashley Lillard, 5-foot-11 forward, comes to Union from Parkland Community College in Illinois. Christina Ray, 5-foot-8 guard, transferred to Union from the University of Texas-El Paso to complete her college career.
Kayla Hudson leads a group of well-experienced sophomores as the returning point guard. Zeinab Chan returns after gaining valuable playing experience as freshman post player. Guards Ella Joines and Laura Crittendon complete the strong sophomore class.
Jackson native Lavanda Ross, a 5-foot-8 guard, comes to Union as the lone freshman on this year’s squad from North Side High School.
The 2008-09 version of the Union Lady Bulldogs look to continue the tradition of winning basketball. The past four seasons at Union have been one of the most successful times at Union with two NAIA National Titles, four national tournament semifinal appearances, and two conference titles. During that time, Union has averaged 33 wins per seasons, including winning 56 of their last 59 games dating back to January of 2007. Each of the three losses during this 59-game stretch have come by exactly two points, all on shots made in the final seconds of play. Two of the three losses came in the national tournament semifinals to the eventual national champion.
The Lady Bulldog’s are led by head coach Mark Campbell, now in his tenth season at the helm of the program. Katie Woodruff returns this year to serve as assistant coach, marking her sixth season with the Lady Bulldogs. Melissa Cook also joins this year’s staff as the graduate assistant coach. They are looking forward to another successful year on the hardwood. Campbell states, "We are returning the best shooting team in Union history. We look to be deeper this season and more athletic on defense.” Campbell adds, "This team has a lot of experience in big games and that will help us as we work through our schedule and into post season.”
Phone: (731) 661-5027
Fax: (731) 661-5182