WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. - 11/12/2011 - The second-ranked Union (Tenn.) University women’s basketball team moved to 3-0 with a 51-49 win at the University of the Cumberlands Saturday. Union survived their first test of the season as the Cumberlands (2-1) were receiving votes in the NAIA preseason rankings.
Union senior and Jackson, Tenn. native Lavanda Ross scored a game-high 18 points, including a 4-for-4 effort from the free throw line in the final 60 seconds of play to help the Lady Bulldogs escape the upset bid.
In addition to scoring the final four points for Union, Ross also opened the scoring. Ross’ three pointer to open the game put Union up 3-0. Union led 5-0 after Mildred Olumasi scored, giving the Lady Bulldogs their largest lead of the half. Cumberlands led by as many as two points on several occasions in the back-and-forth first 20 minutes of play. Union’s Ross sank a basket at the first half buzzer to give Union the 21-20 halftime lead.
In the second half, Union outscored Cumberlands 11-4 over the first five and a half minutes to extend their lead to eight points, 32-24. It was the largest lead of the contest for either team. Union then went on a scoring drought that lasted five minutes, while Cumberlands rallied to cut their deficit to 32-30. Union’s Astrid Huttemann ended the scoring drought for Union with a three pointer, followed by a three pointer from Amy Philamlee. With that, Union matched their largest lead of eight points at 38-30 with 10 minutes left to play.
Cumberlands rallied again and tied the game at 39-39, before taking a momentary lead of 41-40. The teams swapped leads again four times over the final seven minutes of play. With Union down two points, Hutteman hit a basket with 1:37 left to tie the game at 47-47. Union scored next on two free throws from Ross to lead 49-47 with a minute left. Cumberlands’ Dace Bicane tied the game one final time with 51 seconds left. After both teams missed on attempts to break the tie, Union’s Ross had the ball late and was fouled with two seconds left. Ross sank both free throws and Cumberlands missed on a final 3-point attempt, sealing the win for the Lady Bulldogs.
Union was led by Ross’ 18 points. Olumasi added 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Philamlee and Huttemann both sank a pair of three pointers in the game. Union shot 45 percent from the field, 35 percent (6-17) from behind the arc and 60 percent (9-15) from the free throw line.
Cumberlands was led by Bicane with 12 points and Vernisha Moss with a game-high 14 rebounds. The Patriots shot 36 percent from the field, 29 percent (2-7) from long range and 70 percent 7-10 from the free throw line.
Up next for Union will be a home game, Monday, November 14 versus No. 8 Campbellsville (Ky.) at 6:00 p.m.
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