JACKSON, Tenn. - 3/10/2008 - The Union University Lady Bulldog basketball team, ranked No. 1 in the NAIA, posted a 73-62 win over No. 7 Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.) on Monday night to claim the 2008 TranSouth Conference Tournament Title. This is Union’s second straight TranSouth Tournament Title and ninth in the 12-year history of the league.
Union has now played in 15 of the last 17 conference title game (TranSouth, Tennessee Collegiate), with the only exceptions coming in 1994 and 2006. Union is 11-4 in conference title games. Of the 12 TranSouth Titles games dating back to the league’s first in 1997, Union has participated 11 times, winning nine titles.
The Lady Bulldogs are now 32-0 on the season, going perfect through the regular season and conference tournament. Union has also won 53 of the last 55 games, dating back to January 11, 2007. The 32 straight wins for Union is the longest winning streak in team history.
Freed-Hardeman (26-7) came into tonight’s title game having been the only team other that Union to win the tournament title. The Lady Lions captured the title three times from 2005-2007, and have played in the TranSouth Title game eight times in the 12-year history of the league. Freed-Hardeman is 3-5 in those eight title game appearances.
Union struck first with a basket from Josephine Owino, answered immediately by Freed-Hardeman’s Jana Cross to knot the game at 2-2. Union then posted a 12-2 run to take a 10 point lead, 14-4, with 15:59 left in the first half. Union stretched their lead up to 11 points, 19-8, at the 14:03 mark on a three-pointer from Merideth Jacobs.
Freed-Hardeman then began to cut into Union’s 11-point lead, their largest of the first half. The Lady Lions pulled to within three points several times in the first half, but could not get any closer. Union’s Kaitlin Dudley put Union up by five points, 38-33, with a buzzer-beater to end the first half.
In the second half, Freed-Hardeman roared out of the gate, scoring the first four points to quickly cut Union’s lead down to just one point, 38-37, with 17:55 left to play. The Lady Lions continued their 8-3 run to start the second half and with 14:38 left to play, Freed-Hardeman tied the game on two free throws from Cross.
Union re-took the lead following a three pointer from Jessica Graves that put the Lady Bulldogs up for good. Union led by just one point, 46-45, with 11:15 left to play, but over the following four minutes of play, Union posted a 10-2 run to go up by nine points, 56-47. Union held at least a five-point advantage over the final seven minutes, before stretching the lead to the biggest of the game, 73-60, on a three pointer from Jacobs inside a minute to play. Union completed their conference title defense with a 73-62 final.
Union’s Josephine Owino, the TranSouth Tournament Most Valuable Player, led five Lady Bulldogs in double figures with her 14th double-double of the season. Owino posted 13 points, 12 rebounds, and added five blocks in the game. Kaitlin Dudley and Kayla Hudson each added 15 points, while Merideth Jacobs scored 13 points and Crystal Eason added 10 points. Union shot 51-percent from the field, 40-percent (8-20) from behind the arc, and 93-percent (13-14) from the free throw line.
Freed-Hardeman was led by Meredith McLemore with a game-high 16 points. Jana Cross added 15 points while Tara Deathridge posted 12 points. Freed-Hardeman shot 40-percent from the field, including a night in which the team when 0-of-15 from behind the arc. The Lady Lions added 10-of-14 free throws for 71-percent.
Following the game, the TranSouth All-Tournament team was announced. Union was represented by Owino (Tournament MVP), Jessica Graves, and Kaitlin Dudley. Freed-Hardeman’s Meredith McLemore and Tara Deathridge were selected. Also, Mariska Reed from Trevecca Nazarene University and Chytearra Kintchen of Lambuth were named to the tournament team.
Up next for Union will be the NAIA National Tournament held at Oman Arena in Jackson, Tennessee on March 19-25. Union is going for their fourth overall NAIA National title (1998, 2005, 2006), and their third in the last four years.
Phone: (731) 661-5027
Fax: (731) 661-5182