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Union and Bluefield to Meet in NCCAA Mid-East Final

No. 1 seed Union University (TN) and No. 2 seed Bluefield College each earned convincing wins Thursday evening, setting the stage for tomorrow's NCCAA Mid-East Final.

Tim Hartin

March 7, 2013

          BLUEFIELD, Va. – No. 1 seed Union University (TN) and No. 2 seed Bluefield College each earned convincing wins Thursday evening, setting the stage for the National Christian College Athletic Association’s (NCCAA) Division I Women’s Basketball Mid-East Region title game tomorrow evening. The teams will square off at 7 p.m. in the Dome Gymnasium.

 

Union (19-8) tied a program record with 19 three-pointers, as the Bulldogs cruised to an 83-39 victory over No. 4 seed Tennessee Temple(15-15). Bluefield (16-14) put five Lady Rams in double-digit scoring en route to the 81-60 win over No. 4 seed Covenant College (13-11).

 

Game 1 – Union vs. Tennessee Temple

 

The opening Union possessions quickly showed the squad’s game plan, as sophomores Amy Philamlee and Amber Rechis knocked down three-pointers for the quick 6-0 lead.

 

The Union advantage swelled to ten points, as a 19-8 lead came with 13:21 remaining in the opening half. The Bulldogs continued to knock down threes and pieced together a 13-0 run to take the lead up to as many as 23 points. The first half concluded with Union holding a 43-23 lead, thanks to 11-for-17 shooting from beyond the arc.

 

Union’s advantage remained around 20 points through the first portion of the second half, before the Bulldogs clamped down on the Crusaders, only allowing 10 points over the final 15 minutes of play.

 

Union’s largest lead was 46 points, as they cruised to the finish for the 83-39 win.

 

Astrid Huttemann and Rechis led the Bulldogs with 15 points apiece, as both made five three-point baskets. Six more Bulldogs provided at least six points with LaTessa McLaughlin and Paige Parker each contributing nine points. Union recorded 23 assists on its 31 baskets. The squad shot 31-for-69 (44.9%) overall and 19-for-39 (48.7%) beyond the arc.

 

Tennessee Temple was led by Amber Charles’ 12 points, while TaQuasha O’Neal contributed 11 in the loss.

 

Game 2 – Bluefield vs. Covenant

 

Bluefield wasted no time getting on the board, posting back-to-back baskets in its first two possessions to go up 5-0. Teqa McNeal got off on the right foot by hitting a three-pointer, while Maryah Mazyck tossed in a basket from the lane.

 

The Lady Rams added eight more quick points to begin the game on a 13-5 run through the opening four minutes of play.

 

However, Covenant responded with a 10-2 run of its own, squaring the game with 13:55 remaining in the first half.

 

Bluefield edged back in front to a lead of eight points, only to see the Scots fight back to close the gap to four, 25-21 with 7:23 on the clock.

 

Over the final six minutes, the Lady Rams went on a 12-5 run, to earn the 37-26 advantage at the half. McNeal provided eight of Bluefield’s 12 points during the span, totaling 17 points through the first 20 minutes.

 

Bluefield held distinct scoring advantages both in the paint (22-12) and on fast break opportunities (12-2) in the first half.

 

The opening minutes of the final half showed similarities to the first, as both teams exchanged runs. Bluefield stretched its lead out to 16 early, but Covenant pulled it back to 11 points as late as the 8:12 mark, as Haley Soles pulled the score to 58-47.

 

However, a quick 12-0 run by Bluefield in less than three minutes gave Bluefield all the space it needed with a 70-47 edge. McNeal and Mazyck each tallied five in the run, while Ashley White also added a jumper.

 

Bluefield held its lead in the 20’s through the final six-plus minutes of play en route to the 81-60 final.

 

McNeal’s 22 led all scorers, while White found her groove in the second half to total 19 points on the evening. Janee Simmons had an all-around strong performance, recording 17 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and three steals in the victory. Mazyck finished with 11, while Monique Robson tallied 10 more for Bluefield.

 

For the game, Bluefield held a 46-24 advantage for points in the paint and outscored the Scots 20-4 in transition. The Lady Rams also converted on Covenant’s mishaps, converting 33 points on 23 Covenant turnovers.

 

Bluefield shot 31-for-70 (44.3%) for the game, including 17-for-23 (73.9%) at the line.

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