season outlook

The Union University Lady Bulldogs are re-loaded and ready for another run at a national championship in the NAIA. Also on the minds of these Lady Bulldogs is a ninth straight conference championship. Included in their streak of eight straight championships are all seven of the TranSouth Conference championships since the league’s beginning in the 1996-97 season. The Lady Bulldogs have added four transfers, three of which came from NCAA Div. I schools, to the roster. In addition to the transfers, Union is returning a total of eight players with each of them having averaged at least 10 minutes per game last season. Among those returning are the leading scorer and leading rebounder of a year ago in Jessica Henson and Ginger Bryant. This collection of 12 players completes one of the deepest and most talented teams in recent Lady Bulldog history.

This year’s senior class includes three players led by guard Jessica Henson. Henson was named the NAIA/WBCA National Player of the Year last season and also has two TranSouth Conference Player of the Year honors to her name. Henson has led Union in scoring in each of her three seasons as a Lady Bulldog, 17.3 points per game as a junior, and the same will be expected during her senior campaign. Forward Ginger Bryant was a member of the 1998 Lady Bulldog team that won the NAIA National Title during her freshman season. Since returning to Union, Bryant has been a solid player off the bench as she led Union in rebounding as a junior with eight boards per game and was second in scoring with 13.5 points per game. Joining the Class of 2004 as a senior will be guard Laura Davison. Davison has spent four seasons with the Lady Bulldogs, including a red-shirt season, but has decided to graduate after this season and forgo her remaining season of eligibility. Davison has been a player at the guard position that has been called on time after time to come in off the bench to handle the guard position in a back-up role.

Five players make up the Lady Bulldog junior class, two of which are new players to the Union family. Returning for Union are guards Laura Mitchell, Monica Elliot, and center Miriam Wandanda. Mitchell is one of Union’s biggest threats from behind the arc. As a sophomore, she led Union with a .403 (50-124) three-point percentage. Elliot is one of the quickest players on the team at the guard position and stepped in last season and started the final four games of the year, including the TranSouth Tournament Championship. Wandanda has improved greatly since her arrival at Union as a freshman. She is already a force under the goal as a rebounder and defender, and will continue to improve her scoring ability. New to Union are transfers Stephanie Clark and Molly York. Clark joins the Lady Bulldogs from Oral Roberts University where she averaged 11.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. York comes to Union from Tennessee Tech and Wayne County High School. York averaged 20 points per game at Wayne County and led them to a state championship.

The sophomore class is made up of four players, two of which are returning after impressive freshman seasons. The two players returning are guards Jennifer Henson and Peggy McCain. Jennifer Henson started 27 of Union’s 37 games as a freshman and was second on the team with 54 three-pointers made. McCain averaged 13 minutes per game and proved to be one of Union’s best defenders as a freshman. Transferring to Union from Jackson State Community College is LaToya Fuller. Fuller will be the starting point guard this season for the Lady Bulldogs and the quickest player on both offense and defense on the court for Union. She averaged 18.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game as a freshman at the Juco level. Also transferring to Union is Christina Smith, a forward from North Side High School in Jackson and most recently from the University of North Alabama. During her senior year at North Side, she averaged 19 points and 11 boards per game.

Head Coach Mark Campbell is in his fifth season with the Lady Bulldogs and has won 128-of-148 games during that time. He believes this could be the most talented group from top to bottom that he has had and the expectations are once again very high for the Lady Bulldogs in the 2003-04 season.

 

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