UNION UNIVERSITY (TN) BEGINS RUN FOR NATIONAL TOURNAMENT TITLE WITH A 99-63 WIN OVER McKENDREE UNIVERSITY (IL)
JACKSON, Tenn. – Hoping to duplicate their accomplishment of 1998, the No. 3 seed Lady Bulldogs of Union University advanced to second-round action in the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship by eliminating the Bearcats of McKendree 99-63.
Capitalizing on 63.9% field-goal shooting, including 10 of 16 (71.4) from beyond the three-point line, Union (33-3) expanded a 50-23 halftime advantage to advance to the tournament's second round where they will face the winner of the Life (Ga.) and Cumberland (Ky.) game at 8:00 p.m. CST at Oman Arena..
Sophomore forward Jessica Henson led a balanced attack pumping in 18 points while pulling down five caroms to go along with five steals. Cristal Merriweather, a sophomore guard, chipped in with 16 points, while Mary Beth Haltom and Tashekia Brown added 15 points and 12 points respectively. Senior forward Tonya Tuggles pulled down a game-high seven rebounds with Union winning the rebounding battle by a 40-26 count. Every Lady Bulldogs saw action in the game with a total of 11 players making it into the scoring column.
Niamh Dwyer, a freshman guard, led McKendree (20-16) with 18 points and Lauren Dunseath, a junior forward, added 14. Kristin Hustedde was credited with six assists while Jackie Shubert pulled down a team high five rebounds.
The win gives Union a 28-11 overall record in NAIA National Tournament action as they compete in their 11th straight National Tournament. The Lady Bulldogs have participated in four NAIA National Tournament Semifinals (1993-96-97-98) while advancing to the Championship Game on two occasions.