Over Thanksgiving break, Union’s women’s basketball team continued to drain threes en route to a 3-1 week while the men’s team went 1-2 and lost Charlie Wilson, a preseason All Gulf South selection, to an apparent knee injury. According team sources, Wilson will be sidelined for at least a month with a torn meniscus.
Wilson’s injury occurred late in the first half of a rematch against Leymone-Owen College on a play where Wilson still finished and impressive layup after contact. Union trailed by one when Wilson went down and went on to drop the game 88-84, splitting the season series with the Magicians 1-1.
Injuries have plagued Wilson throughout his career. Last year, he missed four games early in the year due to another knee injury and reportedly played hurt for much of the season after he came back.
The Bulldogs responded well in their next game, though. The Bulldogs won their opener in the Florida Tech Thanksgiving Classic against North Greenville, 69-59, in a game that resembled each of Union’s first three wins: hot shooting and solid defense. Union has given up just 57 points per game in wins this year but has given up 92 on average in its two losses.
One of those losses came against the Florida Tech in the Thanksgiving Classic Final. The Bulldogs were shorthanded all weekend without Wilson and their heavy legs showed early on after just 24 hours of rest after the North Greenville game. The Panthers went up 39-13 early on and Union lost 97-77, despite a hard-fought second half and 20-point outings from Tevin Florent and Pedro Da Silva.
Despite Wilson’s injury and the pair of losses for the men’s team, Union fans have something to be thankful for after the break: the Lady Bulldogs seem to be back to their winning ways. Chelsey Shumpert is second in the nation in scoring, Union leads the country in three-pointers made, and Tiara Caldwell is set to join the lineup for the Gulf South opener against Mississippi College on Thursday.
The women’s team opened up Thanksgiving break with three straight wins over Brescia, Lane, and the previously unbeaten Missouri S&T. Going into the game against #11 Drury on Saturday, Union was 5-0 and winning by nearly 30 points per game.
The Lady Bulldogs lost to Drury by eight on the road, but they were not anywhere close to full strength with Caldwell and Bria Gaines set to return soon and Shumpert only playing 25 minutes due to foul trouble.
“In a strange way I think [the loss] was good for us,” Tiffany Rechis, junior education major, said, [It was] a learning experience that will help to grow us together and make us even stronger… we strive to be the best we can be in March.”
Anna Lea Little, senior business management major who only played one game last season, recently rejoined the team and has been a key piece in the Lady Bulldogs’ early success.
“Every time I step on the court I’m just thankful to be out there,” Little said. “I just want to enjoy each moment of it, no matter my role on the team. But it has definitely felt great to be able to contribute. “
Both the Bulldogs and the Lady Bulldogs will play at Mississippi College in their conference openers on Thursday before a stop at Delta State on the way back for showdowns against the Statesmen.