JACKSON, Tenn. - 3/8/2010 - The No. 1 Union (Tenn.) University women’s basketball team had their 60-game home court winning streak snapped by No. 13 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) University on Monday in the TranSouth Conference title game. Union also had their 24-game overall streak snapped as they fell to 31-2 on the season.
Union lost for just the fourth time in the last three seasons (103-4).
Union and Freed-Hardeman were playing each other in the conference title game for the eighth time in the 14-year history of the TranSouth with Union winning five of those times. Union, who captured the TranSouth regular season title for the 12th time in 14 years this season, had won 10 of the league’s 14 titles.
Union opened the game with a basket from Jessica Graves to get the Lady Bulldogs off to a good start. Union led 8-4 and then 10-7 with 14:37 left in the first half. However, Union’s shooting went cold and never heated up. Freed-Hardeman posted a 9-0 run to take control and the Lady Lions led for the remainder of the game.
Freed-Hardeman extended their lead to as many as 20 points, 37-17, with 4:11 left in the first half. Union closed the half with a small run of 8-2 to pull the halftime deficit to 14 points, 39-25.
Union, hoping to continue the momentum generated at the end of the first half, struggled again to make shots in the second half. Freed-Hardeman pushed the lead back to 17 points at 46-29 with 15:09 left. The 17 points on three different occasions matched their largest lead of the second half. Union got as close as 10 points, 46-36 with 13:11 left, but another Lady Lion run pushed the lead back to 17 points, 56-39. Union got to within nine points at 71-62, but only 53 seconds remained. Freed-Hardeman held on for the win, 75-62.
Union was led by TranSouth Player of the Year Kaitlin Dudley with 18 points. Kayla Hudson added 11 points for Union. Union’s four starting guards, Dudley, Hudson, Graves and Ross combine for 40 percent shooting from behind the arc on the season. However, in this game, the four guards combined for 4-of-25 from long. Union shot 34 percent from the field, 21 percent (6-28) from behind the arc and 91 percent (10-11) from the free-throw line.
Freed-Hardeman was led by Jana Cross with 29 points and 11 rebounds. Whitney Johnson scored 13 points and Natalie Shumpert scored 12 points. Meribeth Boehler added 10 rebounds. The Lady Lions shot 46 percent from the field, 13 percent (2-15) from behind the arc and 79 percent (19-24) from the free-throw line.
Up next for Union will be the NAIA National Tournament starting on March 17 as the Lady Bulldogs attempt to defend their national title from a year ago. Union has won three of the last five national titles.
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