Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dry spell dooms Nuggets in loss at No. 21 Talladega

TALLADEGA, Alabama — Xavier University of Louisiana suffered a long dry spell Saturday and lost 54-47 to Talladega in a matchup of ranked NAIA women's basketball teams from the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference.

The Gold Nuggets (13-6, 2-1 GCAC), ranked 13th, led 7-2 in the fifth minute, then was outscored 34-15 during the next 23 minutes. The Lady Tornadoes (13-3, 2-0), ranked 21st, took the lead for good shortly before halftime and led by 18 in the second half.

"We struggled offensively and made too many unforced turnovers," XU coach Bo Browder said.

Xavier shot 25 percent from the floor to match a season low, failed to make a 3-pointer and committed 27 turnovers. XU reserve guard Alesha Smith scored a season-high 12 points and had three steals to match her career high. Trana Hopkins scored nine points, and Hopkins, Kelsee Singleton and Mikayla Bates grabbed five rebounds apiece.

Tajanee Wells scored 11 points for Talladega, Tashieba Henry scored 10, and Latisha Brown had nine points and 12 rebounds. The Lady Tornadoes shot 28.2 percent from the floor.

Xavier led 9-6 through the first quarter, but Talladega led 20-14 at halftime and 41-27 through three quarters. Henry's two free throws with 6:12 remaining made it 48-30.

Making her XU debut was Ariel Sneed, a 6-foot junior forward from Harvey, Ill. Sneed, who attended Southern Mississippi during the fall and was a standout at Kirkwood (Mo.) Community College last season, had two points and three rebounds in 15 minutes.

The teams will meet again Jan. 25 — one week from Monday — at 5:30 p.m. at XU's Convocation Center. Next for the Gold Nuggets will be their fourth game in eight days — 5:30 p.m. Monday against GCAC opponent Tougaloo at XU's Convocation Center.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information

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