|No. 25 Whitney Gathright|
The Gold Nuggets (21-11), seeded third, will play top-seeded Talladega for the championship at 2 p.m. Sunday at Xavier. Talladega, ranked 15th in NAIA Division I, beat fifth-seeded SUNO 73-65 in the other semifinal.
Gathright scored seven points and had an assist to help Xavier take a 14-2 lead through four minutes. The Gold Nuggets led by double digits thereafter and held their largest lead, 52-25, when Gathright made two free throws at 5:47 of the third quarter.
Trana Hopkins scored 15 points for Xavier, and Alesha Smith scored 10.
Jermisha Collins scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Edward Waters (21-9), the No. 2 seed, and Valerie Hill scored 10.
Xavier outshot Edward Waters 44.6 to 36.7 percent from the floor and made 19-of-21 free throws to the Lady Tigers' 7-of-11.
Xavier reached the GCAC's tourney final for the sixth time in seven years and the 12th time in Bo Browder's 17 seasons as head coach. The title-game matchup with Talladega will be their third in five years; the Gold Nuggets defeated the Lady Tornadoes in 2012 and 2014.
Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director
XAVIER UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA