BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - It wasn't pretty or easy, but it was a Union win nonetheless. The Bulldogs saw their 18-point halftime lead dwindle down to three with under a minute to play, but Union held on for the 65-58 Appalachian Athletic Conference decision over visiting St. Andrews (N.C.) on Saturday.
The win is Union's third in a row as it improved to 11-5 overall and 7-1 in league play. St. Andrews falls to 5-7 overall and 2-5 in the AAC.
It appeared the Bulldogs were on their way to a blowout victory after they used 21-0 run in the first half to open up a 33-12 advantage with 5:37 remaining. Union went on to take a 39-20 cushion into the half.
Not a lot happened for much of the first eight minutes of the second half as Union held a 53-32 lead with 12:25 to go following an Amber Taylor free throw. But then the Lady Knights began to crawl back into the game.
Over the next 11-plus minutes, St. Andrews outscored Union 24-6 to slice the margin to 59-56 Bulldogs with 1:01 to play. Mercedes Smith scored seven during the rally with Karin Law adding six. Tyler Knight also scored six during the run and drained the Lady Knights' second 3-pointer of the game to make it a three-point game with a minute to play.
The teams traded points on their next possessions, making it 61-58 with 42 seconds remaining. St. Andrews kept fighting but was unable to get any closer as Union hit 4-of-6 free throws in the waning moments to wrap up the 65-58 decision.
In the second half, the Bulldogs scored half of their points from the foul line, going 13-of-18 at the line. Union shot 17.1 percent from the field during the final 20 minutes, going 6-of-35. In fact, Union's last bucket came at the 7:46 mark and only made two in the final 11:07 of the game.
Lydia Nash pace Union with 19 points, while Alyson Roberts followed with 12.
For St. Andrews, Smith netted 15 with Law adding 13. Ashley Jennings narrowly missed getting a double-double with eight points and 16 rebounds.
By the Numbers
- Union finished the game shooting 24.3 percent (18-of-74 shots) from the floor, 24 percent (6-of-25) from 3-point range and 74.2 percent (23-of-31) at the foul line.
- St. Andrews hit 36.4 percent (20-of-55) of its shots and was 2-of-8 from long range and went 16-of-24 (66.7 percent) at the line.
- The Lady Knights outrebounded the Bulldogs 51-48. At the half, Union owned a 27-23 edge.
- Union scored 27 points off of St. Andrews' 21 turnovers. Union only turned the ball over nine times, resulting in 14 points for St. Andrews.
- Lady Knight Natia Gasque played only 17:37 before fouling out, but she recorded seven blocks. St. Andrews finished with nine blocks as a team.
- Reagan King scored a season-high nine points.
- Haley Perkins matched her season high for blocks with three. She also hit that mark against Cumberlands (Ky.) on Dec. 14.
Union does not return to action until next Saturday when it pays Bryan (Tenn.) a visit for another AAC showdown. Game time is set for 2 p.m.