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Defending Champs Advance to Final Four in Title Game Rematch

JACKSON, Tenn. - 3/18/2006 - The Union University Lady Bulldogs defeated Oklahoma City University 78-64 on Saturday night to earn the fourth and final spot in the 2006 NAIA Women’s Final Four. With the win, No. 2 seeded Union improved to 29-6 on the season, while No. 1 seeded Oklahoma City fell to 32-3

In a rematch of the 2005 NAIA National Championship game that Union won 67-63, the Lady Bulldogs tied the NAIA National Tournament record with 14 made three pointers in the game. Union’s Merideth Richardson led the way with 8-of-12 shooting from behind the arc, including 7-of-9 in the first half. Just last season in Union’s national title run, Richardson made 18 total three pointers, including nine in a semifinal win over Point Loma Nazarene University (Calif.). The national tournament record is 19 threes made by an individual. Through three games in this year’s tournament, Richardson has made a tournament high 12 threes, just seven shy of the record.

Also in last year’s tournament, Union set a new NAIA National Tournament record with 51 threes. This year, Union has made 32 threes through three games. Union is leading the tournament at 51 percent (32-63) from behind the arc.

Union trailed by as many as nine points in the first half, but rallied to lead Oklahoma City 39-35 at halftime with Richardson and Oklahoma City’s Mariam Sy leading both teams in double figures. At the break, Richardson had 21 of Union 39 points while Sy posted 22 of the Stars’ 35 points.

Oklahoma City rallied to open the second half to take a brief lead, 50-48, with 11 minutes to play. In the midst of the comeback, Sy, the tournaments' leading scorer, went down with an injury with 15 minutes left and did not return. Union quickly regained the lead on a 3-point basket by Tiffany Fisher to start a 23-5 run to grow to their largest lead of 16 points, 71-55, with 3:48 remaining. The closest Oklahoma City came was cutting the lead to 10 points on a 3-pointer with 2:17 to play. Union outscored Oklahoma City 30-14 in the final 11 minutes of play.

Richardson’s 27 points in the game led Union. Henson and Natanya Smith added 11 points each while Ena Daniels scored 10 points, eight in the second half. Union shot 45 percent from the field and 54 percent (14-26) from behind the arc. Union made 80 percent (12-15) from the free throw line.

Oklahoma City was led by Sy with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Alexandra Kotta added 14 points for the Stars. Oklahoma City shot 43 percent from the field including 24 percent (5-21) from behind the arc. The Stars shot 73 percent (11-15) from the charity stripe.

In the last two meetings between Union and Oklahoma City in the NAIA National Tournament, the winner of this game went on to win the title (2002 OCU and 2005 UU).

Union advances to play The Master’s College (Calif.) on Monday night at 8:00 pm at Oman Arena. This marks the second straight trip to the final four, third of Campbell’s seven seasons as Union head coach, and seventh overall for Union.

The game with The Master’s will be the second straight rematch game for Union in this tournament. Union defeated The Master’s 79-67 back on November 18 of this season. That win over Master’s happened to be the 200th career win for Union’s head coach Mark Campbell. Union had also played the Stars in Oklahoma City earlier this year, a game Union lost 66-63.


Steven Aldridge
Phone: (731) 661-5027
Sports Information
Fax: (731) 661-5182

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