JACKSON, Tenn. - 2/1/2007 - The seventh ranked Union University Lady Bulldogs led from start to finish as they defeated No. 10 Cumberland University (Tenn.) on Thursday night at Fred DeLay Gymnasium, 82-69. This 13-point win for Union avenges an earlier 13-point loss at Cumberland back in the first conference game of the year. With their eighth straight win, Union improved to 17-4 overall and 8-2 in the TranSouth to remain in a tie for first place. Cumberland drops from a first place tie with the loss to 7-3 in the conference and 17-4 overall.
This game for Union marked the return of 2006 NAIA All-American and two-time national tournament All-Tournament player, Ena Daniels. Daniels has been saving her final semester of eligibility for the end of the season.
Union scored first on a basket by Latorya Fuller and never trailed in the game. Union jumped out to a 17-point advantage, 25-8, in the first nine minutes of play. Union led by as many at 18 points in the first half with just under five minutes to play. Cumberland rallied back to cut Union’s lead to 10 points at 36-26 before settling for an 11-point, 40-29 halftime deficit.
The second half saw Union quickly take the lead up to 16 points, 49-33, on a three pointer by Crystal Eason at the 16:34 mark. However, Cumberland proved their ranking as they mounted a comeback that caused concern for the Union faithful. Over the next, 12 minutes of play, Cumberland cut Union’s lead to 10 points on five separate occasions, but couldn’t get any closer. That is, until a three pointer by Isabelli Cunico at the 3:47 mark cut Union’s lead 68-61. Union quickly answered with two free throws from Kaitlin Dudley. Cumberland would get to within seven points three more times, with the last coming with 47 seconds left, 74-67. But the free throw hero of the 2005 national title game for Union, Daniels, sank her only two free throw attempts of the night to help seal the win.
Union finished the game shooting 40-percent from the field, including 40-percent (6-15) from behind the arc. Cumberland managed 41-percent shooting from the field and 33-percent (7-21) from behind the arc.
Union was led by Josephine Owino with a game-high 19 points, while Kaitlin Dudley and Natanya Smith added 11 points each. Daniels, in her first game back, made a big impact with 10 points, seven assists, and two rebounds.
Cumberland was led by Kiana Robinson with 16 points. Renae Williams and Isabelli Cunico added 11 points apiece. Up next for Union will be another battle with a top-10 team as they host No. 9 Trevecca Nazarene University (Tenn.) on Saturday, February 3 at 2:00 pm. Trevecca Nazarene defeated Union in Nashville earlier this season, 69-63. All of Union’s four losses have come to NAIA top-10 teams (vs. No. 1 Vanguard 71-65, at No. 3 St. Xavier 89-88, at No. 10 Cumberland 79-66, at No. 9 Trevecca Nazarene 69-63).
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