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Union (Tenn.) Wins Fourth NAIA Title With 73-63 Win Over Lambuth (Tenn.)

March 24, 2009
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March 24, 2009

 

JACKSON, Tenn. - (Final Bracket) No. 1-seeded Union (Tenn.) University claimed its fourth NAIA Division I women's basketball championship with a 73-63 victory over one of the tournament's other No. 1 seeds, Lambuth (Tenn.) University, Tuesday night at Oman Arena. Two-time NAIA Player of the Year Josephine Owino led the Lady Bulldogs with 27 points, nine rebounds and five blocks in a game Union never trailed.

 

Owino scored the game's first four points, and back-to-back three-pointers from Kayla Hudson and Kaitlin Dudley capped a game-opening 15-3 run for Union. The Lady Bulldogs ran the first-half lead up to 13 points three separate times before Chytearra Kintchen scored five straight points to spark a 12-3 Lambuth run that cut Union's lead to 29-25 with 1:22 to play before halftime. However, Dudley knocked down a triple with 1:03 left, and Hudson hit a trey with less than 10 seconds to give the Lady Bulldogs a 35-25 halftime lead.

 

A pair of Kintchen free throws early in the second half pulled Lambuth to within six points at 43-37, but Owino answered with back-to-back buckets that started a 16-6 run that gave Union its largest lead of the game, 59-43, with 9:34 to play. Lambuth twice cut the lead to nine points, but Union answered both times on the ensuing possession to push the lead back into double digits to hold off the Eagles for the victory.

 

Kintchen led all scorers with 30 points, making five-of-10 three-pointers for Lambuth, and she scored 20 points in the second half. Maegan Sanders and Rachel Cunningham each tallied nine points for the Eagles, and Yolanda Johnson finished with eight points and a team-high six rebounds. Lambuth committed just nine turnovers in the game, but shot 31 percent (22-for-70) from the field, including a 23 percent (seven-for-30) clip from beyond the three-point arc.

 

Dudley was four-for-eight from three-point range, and she scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half for Union. Hudson registered 11 points with a pair of treys, and she dished out a game-high six assists. Union posted identical 13-for-28 (.464) shooting in each half, and the Lady Bulldogs hit six-of-14 on three-pointers.

 

Union (37-1) has now won each of its past four NAIA title game appearances, and the Lady Bulldogs are now 54-16 all-time in NAIA Tournament play. Over the past five seasons, Union is 21-2 in the national tournament. Lambuth, which won the 2007 national title after posting a 66-64 win over Union in the semifinals, finishes its season with a final overall record of 29-6.

 

Attendance for Tuesday night's championship game was 4,512, bringing the tournament's final attendance total to 22,206 (Wednesday 3,776; Thursday 3,415; Friday 4,323; Saturday 2,965; Monday 3,215).

 

29th Annual NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship Awards

 

Tournament MVP

Josephine Owino, Union (Tenn.) University

 

All-Tournament First Team

Josephine Owino, Union (Tenn.) University

Chelsea Ledbetter, Oklahoma City University

Kaitlin Dudley, Union (Tenn.) University

Chytearra Kintchen, Lambuth (Tenn.) University

Taujhnae Travis, Oklahoma Baptist University

 

All-Tournament Second Team

Lauren Gregory, Vanguard (Calif.) University

Amanda Franz, Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) University

Katie Nelson, Lee (Tenn.) University

Amber Neace, University of the Cumberlands (Ky.)

Holly Hardin, Oklahoma City University

 

Hustle Award

Chytearra Kintchen, Lambuth (Tenn.) University

 

Phyllis Holmes Coach of the Year

Mark Campbell, Union (Tenn.) University

 

 

NAIA