Union Lady Bulldogs Win NAIA Championship

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - Josephine Owino scored 24 points to help Union take home its second straight NAIA women's national basketball championship with a 79-62 win over Lubbock Christian on Tuesday night. Natanya Smith added 16 points and 14 rebounds as Union (31-6) never trailed after midway through the first half. Lubbock Christian (23-12) controlled much of the first half until Union went on 16-0 run that turned a four-point deficit into a 38-26 lead with 3:25 remaining in the half. The Lady Bulldogs took a 41-30 lead at the half. "Our kids did an unbelievable job of following the game plan that we had designed for tonight," Union coach Mark Campbell said. "I actually got to enjoy the last four minutes of this game and really appreciate this win." The Lady Chaps were able to get within single digits twice in the second half, but Union went on a 19-3 run over a six-minute span midway through the second half to put the game out of reach. "The most disappointing thing was how we failed to control the boards," Lubbock Christian coach Steve Gomez said. "We've been great at that all tournament, but Union found a way to out-hustle us tonight."

Union outrebounded Lubbock Christian, 47-36, and the Lady Bulldogs grabbed 19 offensive rebounds. The loss marks the end of the Lady Chaps' stunning run through the NAIA tournament. Lubbock Christian entered as a No. 6 seed and was ranked No. 21 in the NAIA final national poll, yet beat a No. 3-seed, No. 2-seed and two No. 1 seeds in the first four rounds of the tournament to advance to the final game. Freshman Sierra Wilcox led the Lady Chaps with 19 points and nine rebounds.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights