JACKSON, Tenn. - 3/19/2005 - Union University used a hot-shooting first half to pull ahead of top-seeded Vanguard and placed five players in double figures, as they earned a berth into the NAIA Final Four with a 87-72 victory at the NAIA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Oman Arena.
After falling behind 7-0 to open the game, Union went on an 11-2 run to take a two-point lead (11-9) just four minutes into the contest. The Lady Bulldogs would only lose the lead one time, a momentary 13-13 tie, during the course of the game en route to the victory.
The Lady Bulldogs ended the first half on fire, as they shot 57.1 (20-for-35) percent from the floor and 45 (9-for-20) percent from behind the arc. Union used the hot play of three players during the first half en route to the 14-point advantage. Tiffany Fisher came off the bench in the first half to lead all scorers with 15 points, as she was 6-6 from the floor and 3-for-3 from behind the arc. Ena Daniels added 13 points, while Stephanie Clark grabbed ten of her team’s 14 total rebounds in the first half.
Vanguard made a 5-0 run to start the second half and trim the lead to nine (51-42), before making a 9-0 run late in the game to cut the lead to eight at 78-70 with 3:59 remaining. However, Molly York’s three-point bucket with just 1:59 remaining extended the Union lead back to 11 points at 81-70, a deficit that Vanguard could not overcome.
Union was led by Daniels with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor, while Clark finished with a double-double as she poured in 17 points and grabbed a tournament-high 19 rebounds. Fisher finished with 15 points, while Monica Elliot and Molly York chipped in with 11 points each.
The Lady Bulldogs ended the night shooting 54.4 (31-for-57) percent from the floor, and 43.3 (13-for-30) percent from behind the arc.
Vanguard was led by tournament-leading scorer, Kelly Schmidt with a game-high 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor and 8-for-8 shooting from the free throw line. Rachel Besse added 19 points, while senior Lisa Faulkner finished with 10 points and 12 assists.
Schmidt leaves the tournament with 84 points in three games, averaging 28 points per game. Faulkner will finish the tournament with 35 assists, just six short of the tournament record.
Vanguard (32-4), the Golden State Athletic Conference Champion, was making its seventh appearance in the NAIA National Tournament. For the second consecutive season, the Lions are eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Union (33-5), one of the three TranSouth members in the quarterfinals, reaches the NAIA Final Four for the first time since 2002. The Lady Bulldogs, making their 16th appearance in the NAIA National Tournament, will face either Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.) or Point Loma Nazarene University (Calif.) on Monday night at 8 pm (CST).
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