JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–Union University’s Lady Bulldogs came up short in their attempt to win three straight NAIA Division I women’s basketball championships, falling to Azusa Pacific 65-59 March 22 at Oman Arena in Jackson, Tenn.
After Union had led for much of the game, Azusa Pacific’s Briana Hall stole the ball and hit a layup with just over a minute left in the game to give the Lady Cougars a 57-55 lead. With Azusa Pacific still leading 59-57, Union’s Kayla Hudson missed a three-pointer with 30 seconds left that would have put Union in front.
Hall and Eboni Sadler hit six free throws in the final 30 seconds of the game to seal the Azusa Pacific victory.
Union finishes the season 35-2.
“In my 12 years I really believe this is the most successful team I’ve had,” Union coach Mark Campbell said. “I’ve never had a group serve each other more. Each one of the girls on my team wants their heart to be more like Christ. They’re not perfect, but this is the most unselfish group I’ve had.”
The 2011 title game was a rematch of last year’s championship, which Union won 73-65.
Union has won national championships in 1998, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010. Since the start of the 2005 tournament, Union is 31-3 in tournament games. Before this year’s title game, Union’s two previous losses came in semifinals games, both by two points and both on shots made in the final 10 seconds.
Union seniors Sarah Chan and Kayla Hudson were named to the All-Tournament First Team, along with Campbellsville University’s Whitney Ballinger, who was also named the Co-National Player of the Year.
Tim Ellsworth is editor of BPSports, on the Web at www.bpsports.net, and director of news and media relations at Union University.