NAIA women's basketball: Late run lifts Union (Tenn.) past Georgetown in national semifinals

mmaloney@herald-leader.comMarch 19, 2012 

FRANKFORT — An 11-0 spurt late in the game Monday powered second-ranked Union (Tenn.) to a 62-50 victory over Georgetown in the NAIA women's Fab Four.

The Bulldogs (35-2) will take on top-ranked Oklahoma City in the championship game at 6 p.m Tuesday. The game wil be televised by the CBS Sports Network.

A pro-Georgetown crowd of 1,454 in the Frankfort Convention Center saw the Lady Tigers rally from an eight-point halftime deficit to take a 47-44 lead when Angie Lawrence made a spin move on the baseline and laid the ball in with 6:33 left.

Then the roof fell in on the 19th-ranked Tigers.

"They stepped it up a notch," Georgetown Coach Andrea McCloskey said. "I felt like their defense got really aggressive. The referees weren't calling some things, which doesn't help, but we weren't taking care of the basketball. It really took us out of our offense a little bit.

"I thought we did an outstanding job on the boards, and that's what kept us in the game. Because our girls play with heart."

LaTesa McLaughlin's three-pointer tied the game with 6:15 left and kick-started Union's 11-0 run.

Georgetown had turnovers on three of four possessions and missed two shots.

Lavanda Ross, who led Union with 25 points and five assists, scored the go-ahead points on a drive to the hoop, then she added a three-point play.

She scored nine points in the last six minutes.

"The ball just started falling," said Ross, a 5-foot-8 senior. "I just kept doing the same thing. 'Next play, next play.' Coach is always telling us 'think about the next play; don't think about what happened because you can't change it.'"

Astrid Huttemann, a freshman from Paraguay, nailed the last of her four three-pointers en route to a 16-point game to put Union on top 55-47 with 3:10 left.

"This team, every game, has different people that step up and make big plays," Huttemann said. "Today, the opportunity was for me, so I'm happy for that."

Georgetown cut the lead to 55-50, but Union scored the last seven points.

"From where we started at — we were only, I think, pre-season ranked seventh in our conference or something — then to make it all the way to Final Four, I'm very happy," McCloskey said. "And it's all because of what the girls have done with their hard work and effort and attitude that got us to this point."

Andrea Howard led the Tigers (24-10) with 13 points.

Georgetown dominated in rebounding 44-28, led by Devon Golden with 11 and Lizza Jonas with 10. But they were burned by having 19 turnovers to Union's 12.

Georgetown led by three with less than five minutes left in the first half, but Union closed on a 12-1 flurry to lead 32-24 at intermission.

"They have some great players that hit some big shots that we didn't have the answer for," said Howard, a 5-10 sophomore. "We wanted to move on, but being in the Final Four is something that we'll carry on for the rest of our lives."

No. 1 Oklahoma City 85, No. 5 Lubbock Christian 55: Taylor Booze scored 22 points and Dietre Caldwell had 19 as the Stars (33-1) won their 20th game in a row.

Diesiree Jeffries added 13 points and six assists.

The Chapparals (28-5) dealt the Stars their only loss, 88-66 on Jan. 12.

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Blog: Markmaloney.bloginky.com.

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