LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland used a 12-2 spurt in the second half to pull within four points but top-ranked Union University answered with a 12 consecutive points en route to a 62-48 victory over the Bulldogs Monday night at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
Tamara Gonzalez scored all eight of her points during Cumberland’s run, including a pair of 3-pointers. The Bulldogs (11-14, 3-9 TranSouth) pulled within 47-43 on a Casie Cowan field goal with 12:41 remaining in the game, but the home team missed its final 13 shots of the contest, going without a field goal for the rest of the time on the clock. Cumberland made five free throws in the final 12-plus minutes, losing its third straight overall.
Union (24-1, 11-1) answered with 12 straight points, six from Kayla Hudson, who scored a game-high 24 for the No. 1 team in the nation. Lavanda Ross also scored four of her 15 points during the stretch and grabbed a game-high 14 boards, including six on the offensive glass.
Cowan was the only Bulldog in double figures, netting 12 points, but the freshman was just 1-for-9 from 3-point range. CU shot 22 percent from the field in the second half and finished at 31 percent for the game. The Bulldogs saving grace came at the foul line, where CU knocked down 14-of-15. For her efforts Cowan was named the Music City Star of the Game.
The Bulldogs started the game 0-for-5 with three turnovers in the first five-plus minutes of the contest. Ashley Whitmore’s layup with 14:38 remaining in the period was the first basket for CU.
Union pushed its lead to as many as 12 points on three occasions in the half thanks to almost absurd shooting from behind the arc. The visitors made 7-of-11 from 3-point range in the half, making up for their 1-for-13 effort in last Saturday’s loss at Freed-Hardeman. Hudson was the leader for Union, making four trifectas and leading all scorers with 16 points. Ross added a pair of 3’s and had 11 points before the break.
The Bulldogs continued to battle despite getting down early, pulling within 20-13 on another Whitmore basket with 7:35 left in the half. Cowan’s 3-pointer from the wing with 24 seconds remaining cut the Union lead to 38-29 at intermission.
Cumberland heads to sixth-ranked Bethel University on Thursday for a 6 p.m. matchup. The Bulldogs return home Saturday for Senior Day at 2 p.m. against Martin Methodist.