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With a chance to play in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division II tournament, the Union University Lady Bulldogs fell just short against the Nova Southeastern University Lady Sharks with a final score of 67-62 in the South Region championship game.
The majority of the first half went back and forth between the teams, but NSU found a way to hold off Union’s 76.8 point-per-game offense to take a seven point lead at halftime, 39-32.
The Lady Sharks kept their momentum in the second half stretching their lead to 13, their largest of the game.
Leading scorer Amy Philamlee, senior exercise major and guard, believed in her team’s chances even when faced with their largest deficit.
“As a competitor, I never think that this is getting out of hand,” Philamlee said later in a press conference.
Trailing most of the game, the Lady Bulldogs used crucial charges and defensive stops to work their way back into the competition. With a packed house at the Fred DeLay gymnasium, the Lady Bulldogs went on an 11-0 run late in the second half to take the lead by one with 3:42 left in the region championship.
However, that lead was quickly erased with a three-pointer from NSU, who did not allow Union to regain their advantage for the rest of the game.
Tied at 62 with one minute remaining, NSU made a couple of baskets and a big defensive push to put the game away.
Union’s coach Mark Campbell stated he was really proud of his players’ effort and that the fans created a “super environment.”
Having made it to the Sweet Sixteen in their first year of eligibility for the NCAA Division II national tournament, the Lady Bulldogs are proud of the tradition they have established so early.
“I can’t wait to see where Union is going to be in ten years,” Philamlee said.
Two Union players were announced during the brief award ceremony after the game.
Kelsey Risner, junior exercise major and guard, was named to the all-tournament team while Philamlee was named the South Region’s most outstanding player.