Union keeps Gold Nuggets winless in NAIA second round
March 16, 2012
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Second-ranked Union (Tenn.)
overcame a 13-point deficit to earn a 58-43 women's basketball victory
Friday against 18th-ranked Xavier University of Louisiana in the second round
of the NAIA Division I National Championship.
The Lady Bulldogs (33-2) got 14 points from Shelby
Ashcraft and 13 points and 13 rebounds from Lavanda Ross to extend their win
streak to 17 games and reach the quarterfinals for the ninth consecutive
season. Union won national championships in 1998, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010
and was runner-up three times, including 2011.
Jasmine Grant scored 12 points for the Gold Nuggets
(26-9), whose eight-game win streak ended. Xavier is 0-7 in the second round
Xavier made its first three 3-point attempts —
two by Grant and the other by Brandi Young — and led 13-0 after Keldra
Hall's basket at 15:09 of the first half.
Union answered with a 19-2 run and went ahead to stay,
17-15, on a Ross 3-pointer at 7:46. The Lady Bulldogs led 29-21 at halftime and
held their biggest advantage, 56-36, after Amy Philamlee's two free throws with
Union led by double digits for the final 13:49.
Xavier closed to 32-26 on Young's 3-point play with 17:58 remaining,
but the Lady Bulldogs scored the next 11 points.
Union outshot Xavier 38.8 to 30.4 percent from the
floor and outrebounded the Nuggets 37-33. Xavier made 2-of-16 3-pointers after
its opening run.
"It was a great start for us," XU coach Bo Browder
said, "but after the first five minutes we struggled to score."
One day after scoring their most points at nationals
since 1997, the Nuggets scored their fewest ever at this tournament.
Union will play unranked Biola, a 73-58 winner
against 10th-ranked Langston, in the quarterfinals at 8 p.m. EDT Saturday.
Also advancing to the quarterfinals were top-ranked Oklahoma City, No. 4
Westmont, No. 5 Lubbock Christian and the defending champion, No. 9 Azusa
NOTES: It was the final XU game for
seniors Grant, Young (six points, four rebounds), Keldra Hall (six points,
six rebounds), Jazmoné Kelly (no points but five rebounds and three assists)
and Danielle Kennebrew (five points, five rebounds) . . . Paige Gauthier
made the final XU 3-pointer with 2:24 remaining, giving the Nuggets 167
for the season to tie the school record of 2003-04 team . . .
The Nuggets are 7-16 in 16 trips to nationals. Browder's teams are
3-11 in 11 appearances . . . Xavier and Union are among nine teams to win first-round
games in 2011 and 2012. The others are Azusa Pacific, Langston,
Lewis-Clark State, Lubbock Christian, Oklahoma City, Shawnee State and
Westminster (Utah) . . . This is the final NAIA women's basketball tournament
for Union, which will begin the transition to NCAA Division II next season.
Southern Nazarene, Xavier's first-round opponent, will begin that same
transition next season.