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A More Perfect Union

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Published
November 15, 2002
By
Micah McDaniel
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Union (Tenn.) 86
Azusa Pacific 64

(AZUSA, Calif.) – If Azusa Pacific could figure out someway to take care of the ball then it could begin to put the pressure on teams. For the second game in a row, the Cougars were their own worst enemy committing 31 turnovers in an 86-64 loss to the NAIA’s No. 3-ranked Union (Tenn.) University in a non-conference women’s basketball game in Azusa.

The Cougars committed 34 turnovers in an 84-71 loss to No. 6 Houston Baptist (Texas) last Friday night and fall to 0-2 on the year with this loss tonight. Union improves to 5-0 on the season.

Considering they gave the ball away 20 times in the first 20 minutes, the Cougars were fortunate to trail by just 11 (39-28) at halftime. Perhaps the fact the Union refused to take care of the ball had something to do with it as the Bulldogs committed 13 turnovers of their own.

Union, which was coming into the game winning games by an average margin of 33.9 ppg., led entire way. The Bulldogs held a 12-11 advantage at the 14:38 mark of the opening half when NAIA All-American Jessica Henson buried a jumper from the corner that ignited a 14-0 Bulldog run over a 3:27 span to take a 26-11 lead with 11:11 to play. Henson had 9 of her game-high 23 points in the Bulldog spurt. The Cougars got no closer than 9 points the rest of the night.

Leading by 11 at the intermission, Union opened the second half with a 14-2 run over a 6:13 span to take a 53-30 lead with 13:47 to play, and for all intents and purposes put the game away. The Cougars got no closer than 18 points (55-37) with 11:36 to play. With 5 minutes left to play, Union opened up a 31-point advantage, 75-44, its largest of the night.

Union shot an even 44% on the night, but a red-hot 51.4% in the second half aided that total. The Cougars shot just 38.9%, including a 32.3% clip in the second half. The Bulldogs, whose lineup featured 4 players 6-0 or taller, won the war on the boards, out-rebounding the Cougars 51-30, including 25-9 on the offense glass.

Henson did most of her damage early, scoring 16 of her 23 in the opening 20 minutes. Ginger Bryant had 16 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. Christal Merriweather chipped in with 13 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds.

Freshman Lindsey West led Azusa Pacific with 15 points and 12 rebounds. She hit 6-for-11 shots from the floor. Jaclyn Rice and Candis Regan both chipped in with 12 points, and Marie Dyk finished with 11.