JACKSON, Tenn. – March 11, 2002 – The Union University Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs have both been crowned as the TranSouth Conference Basketball Champions for the year 2002. Both teams were regular season champs as well as conference tournament champs this season. For the second game in a row, the Union University Bulldogs won in overtime as they defeated Martin Methodist 68-61 to up their record to 30-4 on the season. The Union University Lady Bulldogs won the TranSouth Conference Tournament Championship by defeating Trevecca Nazarene 88-81. This championship is the seventh conference championship in a row for the Lady Bulldogs.
Bulldog senior Robert Joseph once again proved why he was this season’s TranSouth Conference Player of the Year as he tallied his season high 42 points, including 24 in the second half. Joseph also added 14 rebounds and seven blocks to complete his double-double. He was 12-19 from the field and was 18-28 from the free throw line, including 12-18 in the second half.
Martin Methodist (25-8) led 35-27 at the half, but Union began the second half on a 14-4 run to take the lead at 41-39. It was back and forth for a while until Union to a five point lead with less that two minutes remaining. A three pointer by Martin Methodist’s Ricky Wood and free-throws by Desmond Allison tied the ballgame at 58 all. Junior guard Michael Katrosh, the hero for Union twice already this season had the final shot for Union that hit the front of the rim, sending the championship game into overtime. In overtime it was all Union as they outscored Martin Methodist 10-3 to bring home their first title since 1999.
Lady Bulldog guard Christal Merriweather led the way for the Lady Bulldogs with a triple-double for the game. She tallied 31 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists. Merriweather also broke Union’s school record for free throws made in a game with as she went 16-18 from the line. Allison Harrison added 22 points and Jessica Henson scored 14 on the evening. On the game, Union shot 88% (28-32) from the free throw line to help seal the victory for the Lady Bulldogs. Union improved their overall record to 32-3 on the season.
The Women’s 2002 All-TranSouth Tournament Team and Tournament MVP was announced following the game. Union’s Christal Merriweather was named the tournament MVP for her heroic performance in the championship game. Making the team along with Merriweather was Union’s junior center, Allison Harrison.
Union University also brought home both Player of the Year awards with Joseph winning the men’s and Jessica Henson taking the women’s. Joseph also won the conference newcomer of the year award. Coach Ralph Turner for the men and Coach Mark Campbell of the women won their respective conference coach of the year awards.
Both the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs will begin play in the NAIA National Championships on March 13. The Bulldogs will travel to Kansas City, Missouri as the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The Bulldogs open up Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. against Westminster College out of Utah. The Lady Bulldogs will play at Oman Arena as the No. 3 seed on Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. versus McKendree College of Illinois.
By Steven Aldridge, ('99)
Sports Information Director
Sara B. Horn,