BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Junior center Lindsey Waters had a career night, scoring 38 points and grabbing 19 rebounds in leading 22nd-ranked Union to a 76-68 victory over visiting Milligan (Tenn.) in the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal round on Friday.
The win is also Lady Bulldog head coach Tim Curry's 300th career victory. He is 300-257 overall in 16 years as a head coach and 208-145 in his 11th season at Union.
No. 2 seed Union (24-7 overall) will now face top-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan on Monday at 7 p.m. in Athens, Tenn., for the tournament championship. Tennessee Wesleyan defeated No. 4 seed Virginia Intermont 60-51 in the other semifinal contest.
Waters (Stearns, Ky.) was nearly unstoppable, going 12-of-16 from the floor, 3-for-4 from 3-point range and a perfect 11-for-11 at the foul line in registering her career-high 38 points. She also grabbed 20 rebounds, three shy of the single-game mark. However, Waters has tied Shanica Jackson's single-season record of 351, which first set during the 1998-99 season.
And as if that wasn't enough, Waters also had four blocks and two assists to her credit.
From the outset, Waters was on her game as she scored Union's first 15 points. The Lady Bulldogs took the lead for good with a Waters layup at the 16:12 mark to make it 8-7. However, sixth-seeded Milligan (18-14 overall) would not go away.
Union took a 39-30 lead into the half and owned a 60-49 advantage with 10:07 to play when Waters drained a 25-footer for her third 3-pointer of the day. The Buffaloes bounced back with an 8-0 run, cutting the margin to 60-57 following an Ashlee Price jumper with 7:03 to go.
The Lady Bulldogs regrouped, taking a 67-60 lead after Waters converted an old-fashioned, three-point play with 3:07 remaining. Yet, Milligan had an answer, using an 8-2 rally to slice the margin to 69-68 with 49 seconds left.
Kara Pile (Fairdale, Ky.) was fouled with 22 seconds to play. She hit the first but missed the second. However, Waters hauled in her biggest rebound of the game, giving Union the ball with 21 seconds to go. Three seconds later, Pile was sent back to the line where she connected on both free throws to give the Lady Bulldogs a 72-68 edge.
As Milligan then tried to move the ball down the floor, Laura Perkins (Myra, Ky.) came up with a steal. Alyson Roberts (Baxter, Tenn.) then hit two free throws to make it a six-point game. After a Buffalo missed shot, Courtney Thomas (Glasgow, Ky.) was fouled and sealed the game with two more free throws to make the final 76-68.
Pile nearly recorded a double-double as she finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Four Buffaloes scored in double figures with Kayla Kelly leading the way with 18. Jamiee Hill had 14 points, while Price and Good each chipped in 13.
Union finished the game hitting 42.1 percent (24-of-57 shots) from the field and 36.4 percent (8-of-22) from 3-point range. At the line, the Lady Bulldogs connected on 20-of-23 free throws (87 percent).
Milligan hit only 37.3 percent (26-of-67) from the field but drained 8-of 15 shots (53.3 percent) from long range. The Buffaloes struggled at the line, making only 10-of-20.
Thanks in large part to Waters, Union won the battle on the board with a 47-37 rebounding edge.