Sunday, December 30, 2012

Carter's basket gives Faulkner 66-64 victory over Nuggets

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Brittney Carter's basket with four seconds remaining Saturday lifted Faulkner to a 66-64 victory over Xavier University of Louisiana in a matchup of ranked NAIA Division I women's basketball teams in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Huntingdon College's Roland Arema.

Carter, a 6-foot-3 senior and an honorable-mention NAIA All-American a year ago, finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds -- her 10th double-double of the season -- to help the Lady Eagles (13-3) snap the seven-game win streak of the Gold Nuggets (9-2). Faulkner is ranked 24th, and Xavier is ranked ninth.

Xavier's SiMon Franklin, whose 3-pointer tied the score at 64 with 22 seconds remaining, missed a 2-pointer on the final possession. Franklin finished with career highs of 25 points -- 16 in the first half -- and nine rebounds.

Faulkner had three 10-point leads in the first half and a 33-28 advantage at halftime, but the Nuggets opened the second half with a 21-4 run. Paige Rochelle's basket with 12:36 remaining gave Xavier its biggest lead, 49-37.

Franklin's two free throws gave Xavier a 56-51 lead with 4:19 remaining, but the Nuggets failed to capitalize on two ensuing defensive stops. Shannon Evans' 3-pointer at 3:21 started a 9-0 run for Faulkner, which scored on its final seven possessions. Xavier led for approximately 14 minutes of the second half but lost its lead for good at 2:27 when Carter's two free throws tied the score at 56. Nyla Johnson's two free throws at 1:45 -- her first points of the game -- gave Faulkner a 58-56 lead.

Paige Gauthier scored a season-high-tying 12 points for Xavier, and Whitney Gaston-Loyd had 11. Christina Hayes scored 13 points for Faulkner.

Faulkner outshot the Nuggets 41.2 to 37.5 percent from the floor and outrebounded them 41-31. Xavier made a season-best 14 free throws in 16 attempts, but Faulkner made 19-of-22. Xavier committed 15 turnovers and gained 26. Franklin and freshman teammate Emoni Harvey each had three steals.

It was the first meeting between the teams. Faulkner is in its fourth season of women's basketball. Faulkner denied Xavier its third victory of the season against a ranked opponent. The Nuggets' other loss was at home to No. 5 Westminster (Utah) on Nov. 17.

Xavier will play NAIA No. 12 Bethel (Tenn.) at 2 p.m. Wednesday in XU's new Convocation Center, then travel to Jacksonville, Fla., for its Gulf Coast Athletic Conference opener at 3 p.m. EST next Saturday at Edward Waters. The Nuggets are the defending GCAC regular-season and tournament champion.

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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