JACKSON, Tenn. - 3/5/2012 - The No. 2 Union University women’s basketball team earned a 55-47 win over No. 3 Freed-Hardeman University Monday night in front of a packed house in Union’s Fred DeLay Gymnasium to claim the 2012 TranSouth Conference Tournament Title. Union improved to 31-2, while Freed-Hardeman dropped to 28-5. Both teams will represent the TranSouth Conference in the NAIA National Tournament in Frankfort, Ky. March 14-20.
The win for Union extended several streaks including their 15-game winning streak on the season. Union also extended their home court winning streak 41 straight games and have won 101 of their last 102 games at home.
This also marked the second straight TranSouth Conference Tournament title for Union. Union has claimed five of the last six tournament titles and has won 12 TranSouth Tournament titles in the 16-year history of the league.
The game started with Freed-Hardeman’s Maria Bagwell taking the opening tip for a layup to give her Lady Lions a 2-0 lead. However that proved to be the only lead for Freed-Hardeman in the first half. Union responded on the next possession with a basket from TranSouth Tournament MVP Lavanda Ross, the first two of her game-high 30 points. That basket started a 10-0 run for Union that had the Lady Bulldogs leading 10-2, 14 minutes into the game. Union led by as many as 11 points in the first half, 15-4 with 11:58 left, before the Lady Lions began to rally. With 3:45 left in the first half, Natalie Shumpert sank a basket to pull her team to within one point, 20-19. Union closed the half with a 7-2 run, including a 3-pointer from Astrid Huttemann at the buzzer, to take a 27-21 halftime lead.
In the second half, it was Freed-Hardeman who started hot out of the gate. The Lady Lions opened the second half on a 9-0 run to take a 30-27 lead. Union’s Ross scored the first basket of the half for the Lady Bulldogs at the 14:07 mark to stop the drought.
Over the next nine minutes, the game produced four ties and five lead changes. Freed-Hardeman held their largest lead of five points, 44-39 with 7:34 left to play. Union responded with a 3-pointer from the TranSouth Defensive Player of the Year, LaTesa McLaughlin, that sparked a 12-0 run for the Lady Bulldogs, regaining the lead 51-44. During that run, TranSouth Freshman of the Year Amy Philamlee drained a 3-pointer, breaking a 44-44 tie, that continued the run and gave the Lady Bulldogs the lead for good. The 8-point margin of victory was the largest lead of the second half for Union.
Union was 10-10 from the free throw line in the game, 8-for-8 in the second half including 6-for-6 in the final 47 seconds of the game to seal the win. Ross was 8-for-8 in the game and Philamlee added a pair of free throws in with 12 seconds left.
Union was led by Ross with a career-high 30 points and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Ross was 10-of-16 from the field, including 2-of-2 from behind the arc and 8-of-8 from the free throw line. Philamlee added eight points for Union including 2-of-3 from 3-point range. Huttemann added six points on a pair of 3-pointers. Mildred Olumasi grabbed 10 rebounds. Eight Union players saw action, with seven scoring in the contest. Union shot 38 percent from the field, 37 percent (7-19) from long range and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line.
Freed-Hardeman was led by Bagwell’s double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds. Natalie Shumpert added 15 points for the Lady Lions. Seven players played in the game for FHU, with Shumpert and Bagwell accounting for 37 of their teams 47 points. The Lady Lions shot 37 percent from the field, 29 percent (2-7) from behind the arc, and 70 percent (7-10) from the free throw line.
Following the game, the TranSouth Conference All-Tournament team was named. Union's Ross earned MVP honors while five others players joined Ross on the all-tournament team.
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