JACKSON, Tenn. - 1/7/2010 - The No. 1 Union (Tenn.) University Lady Bulldogs used final second heroics from Kaitlin Dudley to defeat No. 22 Bethel (Tenn.) University 80-78. Union improved to 14-1 overall and 1-0 in the TranSouth. Bethel dropped to 9-5 on the season and 0-1 in league play.
Union’s Dudley converted a three-point play with six seconds left to put Union up 80-78. Dudley, finished with a game-high 22 points, including 18 points in the second half. Her 19th point of the game was the 2,000th point for the All-American’s career.
Coming out of halftime, Bethel extended their lead to 11 points, matching their largest of the game on a three pointer from Teena Carter. However, Union mounted an 11-0 run to tied the game 45-45 with 15 minutes left to play. Over the final 15 minutes, the game boasted five ties and seven lead changes. The game itself totaled nine ties and 10 lead changes.
Both Union and Bethel held six point leads in the final 15 minutes of play with Union seeming to take control of momentum when Sara Chan made one of two free throws with three minutes left to put Union up 75-71. However, Bethel rallied with five straight points to go up 76-75 with 1:21 left to play. On Union’s next possession, senior forward Ashley Lilliard sank two free throws to give Union the 77-76 lead with 57 seconds left.
Bethel’s Carter put Bethel up 78-77 with 28 seconds left in the contest on a layup in the lane. After a Union timeout, the Lady Bulldogs moved the ball down court and worked to the ball to the senior Dudley. Her shot in the lane dropped in good, followed by a made free throw to convert the thee-point play. With six seconds left, Bethel bobbled the inbounds pass and had to call a timeout with four seconds left. After the timeout, Kashundria Berry’s shot two-point shot at the buzzer rolled off the rim no good.
Union led early, moving out to a 7-4 lead to start the game. Bethel rallied with a 21-9 run over the next ten minutes to lead 25-16 with eight minutes left. Bethel pushed their first half lead to as many as 11 points on two occasions, including 42-31 with 37 seconds left in the first half. A three pointer from Jackson native Lavanda Ross pulled Union to within eight points, 42-34, at halftime.
Union was led by Dudley with 22 points, included two big second half three pointers. Kayla Hudson added 15 points on five-of-eight shooting from behind the arc. Ross scored 11 points, while Chan recorded her ninth double-double of the season with 10 points and 15 rebounds. Union shot 43 percent from the field, 40 percent (10-25) from three point range and 75 percent (12-16) from the free throw line. Union post 50 percent shooting from the field in the second half, compared to just 35 percent in the first 20 minutes. Union committed just 12 turnovers and outrebounded Bethel 45-33 in the game.
Bethel was led by Carter and Kelsey Hamilton with 18 points each. Hamilton sank five-of-10 three pointers. Nina Djokovic posted a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Bethel shot 44 percent from the field, 39 percent (11-28) from behind the arc and 79 percent (11-14) from the free throw line.
Up next for Union will be a road conference game at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 9 at Martin Methodist (Tenn.) College.
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