Sunday, January 22, 2017

Gold Nuggets pull away late to defeat Edward Waters

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana pulled away in the fourth quarter Saturday to earn a 59-46 women's basketball victory against Edward Waters.

The Gold Nuggets (12-6, 3-0 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference) have won six straight and nine of their last 10 games.

XULA gained six turnovers during a 13-1 surge that extended its lead from 40-38 to 53-39 with 3:37 remaining. The Lady Tigers (15-5, 3-2) never got closer than nine points thereafter.

Jayla Nichols, a midterm transfer who played her first game with the Gold Nuggets Monday, led XULA in scoring for the second consecutive game. Nichols had 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Her seven offensive rebounds are the most in a game by a XULA player this season.

Gina Smith scored nine points for XULA, Ireyon Keith had eight points and three steals, and Maya Trench produced seven points, five assists, five steals and one turnover in a team-best 34 minutes.

Bianca Thornton had 12 points and six rebounds for Edward Waters, and Jermisha Collins scored nine. Thornton, who entered the game No. 3 in the NAIA in 3-pointers made per game, was 1-of-6 from behind the arc.

XULA led 27-21 at halftime. A Mikayla Bates basket at 6:33 of the third quarter put the Gold Nuggets ahead to stay, 29-28.

Edward Waters outshot XULA 41.5 to 30.6 percent from the floor, but the Gold Nuggets were plus-14 in turnovers and plus-7 in rebounds. XULA made 19-of-26 to free throws to the Lady Tigers' 11-of-19. Edward Waters committed 30 turnovers, its most in a game since November 2014.

XULA will travel to Little Rock, Ark., to play GCAC opponent Philander Smith at 5:30 p.m. Monday. Then the Gold Nuggets will return home to face Dillard in the Crosstown Classic at 3 p.m. Saturday at XULA's Convocation Center.


Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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