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Lady Bulldogs fall 59-52 in AAC Tournament title game

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Junior Amber Taylor turned in another solid performance, but No. 3 seed Union came up short in its bid to win the 2013 Appalachian Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament as No. 5 seed Reinhardt (Ga) claimed the title on Saturday with a 59-52 decision.

The tournament was held at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport, Tenn.

Union finishes the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 21-10.

Taylor finished the game with 22 points, while Haley Perkins had 10 points for Union. AAC Co-Player of the year Lindsey Waters had 14 rebounds and eight points.

The Lady Bulldogs opened the game on a 7-2 run in the first four minutes of the half capped by a 3-pointer from Lindsey Waters. After Reinhardt closed the gap to four points with a pair of free throws from Tara Hay, Laura Perkins hit a 3-pointer just past the midpoint of the half to give Union a 16-11 lead.

The Lady Eagles slowly closed the gap, and regained the lead for the first time since 2-0 with 3:20 left in the frame with a Sarah Hewett jumper. Perkins responded for Union with a 3-pointer and Lydia Nash scored in transition to put the Lady Bulldogs up four points. A Hay shot closed the halftime score to 27-25 at the break.

Hay had a first half high of eight points for Reinhardt, while Nash and Perkins has six points apiece. As a team, Union was 11-of-28 (39 percent) from the field and 4-of-12 (33 percent) from the 3-point line. Reinhardt ended the half 10-of-28 (36 percent) from the floor and 1-of-7 (14 percent) from behind the arc.

Taylor opened the half with five straight points for Union, but Tara Johnson responded for Reinhardt with points on consecutive trips. Taylor and Perkins extended the Lady Bulldogs lead to five points. However, the Lady Eagles responded with points from Carmen Lockhart and Johnson to tie the game up at 35-35 just over 11 minutes to play.

The teams traded shots until Reinhardt held the Lady Bulldogs without a field goal for a four minute stretch as the Lady Eagles took a 43-40 lead on a Johnson jumper. Taylor ended the Union field goal drought to pull Union within one point, but Kayla Aiken drained a pair of free throws to take a 45-42 Reinhardt lead with 6:25 to play.

The next three minutes saw the teams remain scoreless until Hay hit a runner with 3:39 remaining to put the Lady Eagles up 47-42. From there, Union was unable to close the gap as Reinhardt secured the win with defense in the final minutes.

Johnson ended the game with 21 points, while Hay recorded 13 points. Kayla Aiken rounded out the Reinhardt scorers in double-digits with 12 points.

As a team, Reinhardt was 20-of-49 (41 percent) from the field and 1-of-9 (11 percent) from the 3-point line. Union ended the game 18-of-67 (27 percent) from the field and 5-of-23 (22%) from behind the arc.

Waters and Taylor were named to the AAC All-Tournament Team.


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