JACKSON, Tenn. - 3/3/2006 - The Union University Lady Bulldogs fell at home to Trevecca Nazarene University (Tenn.) 75-62 in the semifinals of the TranSouth Conference Tournament. Union, seeded #2, falls to 26-6 on the year. Trevecca Nazarene, seeded #3, improves to 29-3 overall and will advance to the conference title game.
For Union, this will mark the first time in 14 seasons that a Union Lady Bulldog basketball team will not play in a conference tournament championship game. Over those 14 seasons, Union has won nine titles and has recorded five runner-up finishes.
Union led for much of the first half before the teams ended the first 20 minutes in a 32-32 tie. In the second half, it remained close with Union's biggest lead being 51-46 with 11:13 left to play. Trevecca Nazarene rallied back as both Union and Trevecca Nazarene swapped leads over the next eight minutes. Then with 3:31 left to play, Trevecca Nazarene tied the game at 59-59 on a basket by Kristen Bledsoe. From that point on, Union failed to regain the lead again. Over the final 3:31 of play, Trevecca Nazarene outscored Union 16-3 to take the 13 point win.
Union was led by freshman guard Jessica Graves with 14 points. Natanya Smith added 13 points, while Ena Daniels scored 12 points. Union shot just 40 percent from the field including just 15 percent (4-of-27) from behind the arc.
Trevecca Nazarene was led by the conference player of the year, Jackie Weaver, with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Mariska Reed scored 15 points, Ashlie Gilliand added 12 points, and Kristen Archie scored 10 points. Trevecca Nazarene shot 46 percent from the field and 21 percent (3-of-14) from behind the arc.
Union will receive an at-large bid to the NAIA National Tournament here in Jackson on March 15-21. This will be the 17th appearance in the national tournament for the Lady Bulldogs. Only Wayland Baptist University at 19 appearances has more that Union. Union has a winning percentage of .731 (38-14) in the national tournament including two titles, two runner-ups, six final fours, and 11 elite eight appearances.
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