Chelsey Shumpert and Sara Lytle shined in the Lady Bulldogs’ first two regular season games, combining for 100 (!) points and leading the team to a pair of 20-point victories over Barry and Nova Southeastern in Fred DeLay Gymnasium.
The game against Barry went exactly how most people expected it would: it was never close. The final score of 73-50 doesn’t even indicate how dominant Union was. Before putting in the second unit, the Lady Bulldogs led by 36 in the fourth, and Barry had no answer for Chelsey Shumpert, who put up 27 points and five steals in 29 minutes.
The Nova Southeastern game was more competitive. The Lady Sharks actually led for most of the first half until Shumpert pulled up from three with 3:38 left in the second quarter.
Union never trailed after that shot, thanks in large part to Lytle, who put up 16 points in the second half and a career-high 29 points on the game. Lytle attributed her strong performance to the work God did in her life over the summer.
“I really grew in the summer spiritually,” Lytle said. “Last year I really played for myself and this year I transitioned into playing so that other people can see Jesus through me.”
For reference as to just how impressive Lytle and Shumpert were, they are currently both averaging more points than the leading scorer in the country did last season (23.3).
Shumpert, a graduate transfer from UT Chattanooga in her last year of eligibility, made all-conference teams in NCAA Division I, and she performed like one of the top players in all of Division II over the weekend. In addition to her insane 10-for-18 from three, 51 point weekend, she piled up nine steals in a well-rounded performance.
“[Shumpert] had a great impact,” Mark Campbell, Union head coach, said. “She’s a great player and makes everyone else better, too.”
These two wins were especially impressive since Union was without key contributors Tiara Caldwell, Bria Gaines, and Jada Smith, who are all currently out with injuries. Campbell was impressed with the team’s effort even when they were not at full strength.
“It’s been really good with chemistry right now,” Campbell said. “Everybody has to give everything they have and they know they’re going to get an opportunity. It’s been really cool watching them come together as a team early on.”
Union will look to continue its hot start against Brescia University on Saturday, November 18 at 2:00 p.m. at Fred DeLay Gymnasium.