Top-seeded Union survives opening round with 81-75 OT win
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Union University women’s basketball team opened their play in the 2013 National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Tournament with an 81-75 overtime win over Roberts Wesleyan (N.Y.) University. Union improved to 21-8 overall, while Roberts Wesleyan dropped to 15-15 over the season.
Union led by as many 14 points in the first half and had a 12 point lead with 7:34 left in regulation. However, Roberts Wesleyan went on a 14-0 run to take their first lead of the game, 62-60 with 3:34 left to play. Union’s Amber Rechis answered with a 3-pointer to give Union the lead again. Roberts Wesleyan regained the lead again 64-63 with a basket, but Union scored four straight points to lead 67-64 with 17 seconds left.
Roberts Wesleyan had the ball for an attempt to tie the game at the end of regulation. The RedHawks missed their 3-point attempt but grabbed the loose ball rebound and was fouled by Union in the process. Sarah Alwardt made the first free throw with three seconds left. She missed the second free throw on purpose and the long rebound landed in Alwardt’s hands. She hit game tying shot as time expired.
In overtime, the teams swapped baskets and leads over the first minute. Union’s Amy Philamlee hit a 3-pointer with 3:25 left to give Union the lead for good. Rechis followed with another three pointer and Union was up four points, 75-71. Union never trailed as they made six of six free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Union head coach Mark Campbell said, “I am really proud of the way we competed late in the game when they (Roberts Wesleyan) took the lead. Amy (Philamlee) made all 10 of her free throws late and in overtime, and Amber (Rechis) hit two big 3-pointers late when we needed them.”
Union opened the game with an 8-0 run and led 13-2 five minutes into the game. Union led by as many as 14 points in the first half, 29-15, with 5:47 left. However, Roberts Wesleyan began to make shots and cut Union’s lead down to just four points, 32-28 at the half.
Union was led by Amy Philamlee with 21 points, including 15 in the second half and overtime. She was 10-for-10 from the free throw line in the second half and overtime. Philamlee filled up the stat sheet with nine assists and six rebounds in the game. Astrid Huttemann scored 17 points. Both Huttemann and Philamlee hit three 3-pointers. Rechis led Union with six 3-pointers in the game for 18 points, while Shelby Ashcraft added 11 points. LaTesa McLaughlin hit two 3-pointers, scoring eight points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out five assists.
With Philamlee’s 21 points, Union has had a player score 20-plus points in 10 of the last 11 games. Five different players reached 20 points during the stretch of games, all underclassmen.
Union shot 42 percent from the field, 37 percent (15-41) from 3-point range, and 90 percent (18-20) from the free throw line.
Roberts Wesleyan was led by Brittany Williams with 31 points on a nine points per game average. She hit five three pointers in the game. Marissa Sell averages a double-double on the season, and she continued that play in this game with 28 points and 12 rebounds. The RedHawks shot 36 percent from the field, 36 percent (8-22) from the free throw line, and 70 percent (19-27) from the free throw line.
Up next for Union will be a semifinal game Thursday at 6:00 p.m. central time versus #4 seed Southern Nazarene (Okla.). Southern Nazarene knocked off Union’s conference foe Shorter (Ga.) in the opening round. The game will be carried locally in west Tennessee on WWGM 93.1 FM and online at www.uuathletics.com/live.