March 20, 2012
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FRANKFORT, Ky. – (Bracket; Scoreboard; Stats) Perennial powerhouse programs Oklahoma City and Union (Tenn.) collide in the finals of the 2012 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship presented by Kentuckytourism.com. Tipoff is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. EDT at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky.
The contest will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network with Jason Knapp providing the play-by-play and Cindy Stein doing color.
Similarities are prevalent in the two sides in National Championship history, as both teams own five national crowns and three national runner-up finishes in eight appearances, including a meeting in 2005 that saw the Lady Bulldogs claim a 67-63 victory.
Oklahoma City (34-1) is making its first championship finals trip, since the previously mentioned 2005 meeting with Union. The Stars, who reached the 50-win plateau all-time in tournament games, have dominated on both sides of the ball through four games. Oklahoma City owns a 23.5 scoring margin and its 82.5 points per game ranks second only behind Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), who was eliminated in the first round by Shorter (Ga.), 84-83.
Featuring a balanced offensive attack, the Stars have had seven different players reach double-figure scoring in four tournament games. Lauren Gober paces the squad with15.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game -- including a team tournament-high 24 points in the Star’s first round win against Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) -- while Dietra Caldwell is second at 14.5 points per game.
Union is making its fourth-consecutive trip to the finals – sixth since 2005. The Lady Bulldogs outlasted an upset-minded Georgetown (Ky.) squad, 62-50, in the semifinals to reach the title game. Union holds the all-time championship record in wins with a 67-17 mark in a NAIA-best 23 appearances. The Lady Bulldogs have played in five of the last seven championship finals, including back-to-back titles in 2005-2006 and 2009-2010.
Predicated on a strong defensive effort, Union is holding opponents to only 51.3 points per game this season, including a 48.8 average in four tournament games. Additionally, opponents are shooting only 31.3 percent (66-for-211) from the field.
On the offensive end, the Lady Bulldogs are averaging 64.3 points per game on 43.1 percent shooting. Returning All-American Lavanda Ross leads Union with 20.0 points and 8.3 rebounds, including a pair of 25-point performances against Lindsey Wilson and Georgetown. Against Georgetown, she continued to write herself into the Lady Bulldogs record book, surpassing the 2,000-point plateau.
The winner of Tuesday’s championship game will claim the sole possession of second place all-time in National Championships, trailing only Southern Nazarene’s (Okla.) seven titles.
General admission tickets can be purchased at the convention center for $10.
For additional information, including an updated bracket and scoreboard, on the 32nd annual NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship presented by Kentuckytourism.com, click here.