HENDERSON, Tenn. - 2/12/2011 - The No. 1 Union (Tenn.) University women’s basketball team lost their first game of the 2010-11 season in a 58-56 loss at No. 7 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) University. Union dropped to 23-1 on the season and 10-1 in the TranSouth. Freed-Hardeman improved to 20-5 overall and 9-2 in league play.
The loss also snapped several Union winning streaks. Union’s 61-game TranSouth regular season winning streak ends, along with their 44 straight regular season wins, both school records. Union lost for the first time in their past 28 games dating back to last season, and the first time this season after starting 23-0. Union also had their 27-game road winning streak snapped.
This was the first loss for the Lady Bulldogs since Union lost to Freed-Hardeman in the conference tournament last season. It was the first regular season loss since Union lost to St. Xavier (Ill.) on No. 27, 2009. It was the first TranSouth Conference regular season loss since February 22, 2007 to former member, Lambuth (Tenn.). The last regular season conference loss to a current member of the TranSouth was to Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.) on January 6, 2007.
The game started with a three-pointer from the NAIA’s leading scorer, Meribeth Boelher of Freed-Hardeman. The Lady Lions jumped out on Union early as they extended their lead to as many as 12 points, 18-6, with 9:32 left in the half. Union rallied back, cutting the lead to five points three times, including the 26-21 halftime score.
The last time Union scored 21 points in a half was ironically at Freed-Hardeman almost five years to the day. Union posted 21 points in a half in a 53-50 loss at Freed-Hardeman back on February 4, 2006. Union went on to win their second straight and third NAIA national title overall that season.
In the second half, Union quickly took control. The Lady Bulldogs started with a 6-0 run to take their first lead of the game, 27-26. The game was tied 30-30 at the 15:34 mark when Union scored eight straight points to take a 38-30 lead, their largest of the game. However, the home team did not let Union pull away and with 8:20 left, Freed-Hardeman had tied the game for the third time at 44-44. The teams went back and forth for the remainder of the game with neither team leading by more than two points for the final eight minutes.
Union led 54-52 with 31 seconds left. Boelher made the first and missed the second of a one-and-one free throw opportunity. However, Freed-Hardeman’s Lelsie Morgan came down with the offensive rebound and dished to Whitney Johnson for her only made three-pointer of the game to give the Lady Lions a 56-54 lead with 24 seconds left. Union’s Kayla Hudson then sank a basket to tie the game at 56-56 with seven seconds to go. After a Freed-Hardeman timeout, Boehler hit the game-winner with one second left to give her team the win.
Union managed just one made three pointer (1-13) in the game. It was the first time in more than seven years that Union has only made one three pointer in a game since January 19, 2004 versus Blue Mountain (Miss.) in a 75-59 Union win.
Union was led by Hudson with a game-high 20 points. Lavanda Ross added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Sarah Chan scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Hope Adams got a game-high 11 rebounds. Union shot 39 percent from the field, seven-percent (1-13) from behind the arc and 73 percent (1-15) from the free throw line.
Freed-Hardeman was led by Boehler with 18 points. Johnson added 13 points and Natalie Shumpert scored 11 points. The Lady Lions shot 41 percent from the field, 30 percent (6-20) from long range and 50 percent ( 4-8) from the free throw line.
Up next for Union will be a road game at Cumberland (Tenn.) on Monday, February 14 at 6:00 p.m.
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