By Josh Brown, Sports Editor
Homecoming is a traditional event for colleges as well as high schools. Many times Homecoming is connected with football, but the Bulldogs take the basketball court every season for their annual games.
The Lady Bulldogs played first for Homecoming 2011 against the University of St. Francis in Illinois. The Lady Bulldogs won the game 82–45 behind an offense led by Amy Philamlee, freshman guard who led the team with 17 points.
The men’s basketball team took the floor next and wasted no time, much like the women. The Bulldogs beat Belhaven University from Jackson, Miss., 87–66 with an onslaught of three-pointers, shooting 53 percent, 9–17, behind the arc.
Bulldog coaches said that while Homecoming is exciting for fans and players, the teams treat the games no differently than any other game of the year.
“You want to go out and play well, but I would say it is no different from how we are going to approach a game in February,” said men’s basketball head coach David Niven.
Lady Bulldogs head coach Mark Campbell added, “I don’t think (playing on Homecoming) is any different, but we have people that may only see us once there. You make sure (the players) realize that again and again, whether it is Homecoming or anything else, it is important to be aware of how our behaviors can have a reflection on us, our school and our God. I remind them of that on Homecoming every year.”
Homecoming games typically draw larger crowds, and Nov. 5 was no different, as the Fred DeLay Gymnasium was packed early. Both Bulldog coaches said it is an event tailored for fans but it is also always exciting for the players to play in front of a big crowd.
“Just seeing people we normally don’t see is really good, especially if they are former players,” Campbell said. “A couple of years ago we had the ‘98 team in the locker room beforehand, and that was a cool thing.”
For the players on the team, Homecoming games are typically an exciting time. They get into the games more when they can play in front of a big home crowd.
“It is always good to play at home (since) you’ve got your home crowd behind you,” said Lavanda Ross, senior social work major and starting guard for the Lady Bulldogs. “It was pretty exciting coming in with our second game being Homecoming.”
For the seniors, playing on Homecoming has more meaning when it is their last one. Ross, the lone senior on the Lady Bulldogs this season, said after the game her emotions were something she cannot reflect on just yet.
However, Skyler Vaden, senior sports management major and starting guard for the Bulldogs, said he will remember these games.
“It was exciting, especially as a senior and compared to last year,” Vaden said. “As a junior coming in I was a (transfer), now I know everybody. I’m going to miss it to be honest. I’m going to miss the whole Union experience. Even though I’ve only been here two years, it’s been great, like no other.”