Thursday, February 18, 2016

Wolf Pack leads wire-to-wire, defeats Nuggets 67-57

 Whitney Gathright enjoyed her gifts from senior night.
NEW ORLEANS — Reserve guard Zoie Miller scored 13 points Wednesday to lead NAIA No. 25 Loyola to a 67-57 women's basketball victory against Xavier University of Louisiana at The Den.

Di'Mond Jackson and Kylah Jones scored 11 points apiece, and Megan Worry had 10 for the Wolf Pack (18-6), which led wire-to-wire against the Gold Nuggets (17-10) for the second consecutive meeting. Adrianne Sloboh grabbed 13 rebounds.

Whitney Gathright scored 24 points — she made four 3-pointers to tie her career high — andDonyeah Mayfield had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Xavier. Alesha Smith and Trana Hopkins scored eight points apiece.

Loyola scored the first five points and led 22-14 when Miller ended the first quarter with a 3-pointer. The Wolf Pack led 40-26 at halftime and never by less than six points thereafter.

Two Jones free throws at 6:50 of the third quarter gave Loyola its largest lead, 47-28.

Gathright, a senior point guard, scored her most points since mid-November and reached 20 points for the 13th time in her career. Her two free throws at 3:47 of the third quarter made her the second Gold Nugget to make 400 in a career. Gathright finished the game 10-of-12 from the line and with 406 made in her career, trailing Antasha Jones (1993-97) with 415.

Gathright needs 16 points to become the ninth Gold Nugget to reach 1,300 in a career.

Mayfield made a pair of 3-pointers in the final four minutes, the second one at the buzzer to make her the first Gold Nugget with 25 made 3's and 30 blocked shots in the same season. The double-double was Mayfield's fifth of the season and her ninth in two years.

Loyola outshot the Gold Nuggets 40 to 27.5 percent from the floor. Xavier tied a season high by making eight 3-pointers, and the Nuggets shot better from behind the arc (34.8 percent) than they did from inside it (21.4). Xavier, which outrebounded its previous four opponents, lost the boards 43-34.

Xavier lost for the third straight time against a ranked team in NAIA Division I and is 4-4 this season against those teams. Xavier trailed Loyola by 10 points in this week's coaches poll and was 26th overall.

It was Xavier's first double-digit loss of the season against an NAIA opponent.

The Gold Nuggets will finish the regular season with three consecutive Gulf Coast Athletic Conference road games: 3 p.m. EST Saturday at Edward Waters, 5 p.m. Monday at Tougaloo and 3 p.m. Feb. 27 at Dillard. Xavier and Edward Waters are tied for second place in the GCAC. The GCAC Tournament will be March 4-6 in New Orleans, with opening-round games for the women at SUNO and the men at Dillard. For the third straight year, all semifinals and finals for women and men will be played at Xavier's Convocation Center.


Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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