This weekend, the Union women’s basketball team opened up Gulf South play with road wins at Mississippi College, 98-71, and Delta State, 69-62, while improving to 7-1 overall on the season.
Chelsey Shumpert, the nation’s leading scorer, led the way for Union with over 30 points in both games and never even left the court against DSU. Shumpert spent the last few minutes of the first half in a back-and-forth shooting dual with Delta’s Alondrea Rush, and Shumpert drained a three at the buzzer to give her a five point advantage over Rush and Union a thirteen point edge on the scoreboard.
Despite Shumpert’s dominance, Delta State’s defense held all but three players to under five points. The Lady Statesmen also held Union to a season-low four three-pointers.
“It’s not sustainable,” Mark Campbell, Union head coach, said last week when then Lady Bulldogs led the nation in three-pointers and three-point percentage. “We know we aren’t going to make 15 threes a game when conference play starts.”
Campbell was right about conference play balancing out the shooting numbers, but Union won the game by winning the rebounding battle and turning the ball over just seven times.
This weekend also marked the return of Tiara Caldwell, who suited up for the first time since 2015-16, when she led scored 15 points per game and led Campbell’s squad to the number one seed in the South Region. Caldwell was on a strict minutes restriction, but she still put up 27 points in two games off the bench.
The men’s team also played MC and DSU this weekend, losing both games with star big man Charlie Wilson out due to a torn meniscus.
The Bulldogs had a chance to tie MC with just seconds left, but sharpshooter Nick Velasquez’s three fell just short after he was force to shoot in double coverage.
Despite Wilson’s absence obviously effecting the team’s play, Velasquez refused to use that as an excuse for the losses.
The Lady Bulldogs will play Fisk on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. and the men’s team will face Williams Baptist College Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
“We’re a team and with a guy out you got to have the next man up mentality,” Velasquez said. “We have a lot of good parts but we just have to play together because that is the strength of our team, not one guy.”The Lady Bulldogs will play Fisk on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. and the men’s team will face Williams Baptist College Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
Photo courtesy of UU Athletics