Helaire's the hero in GCAC quarterfinals
For immediate release . . . February 28, 2007
NEW ORLEANS — Karmynah Helaire, a walk-on who joined the Xavier
University of Louisiana women's basketball team in late January, scored the game's final
three points Wednesday to rally the Gold Nuggets in a 38-37 victory
against William Carey in the quarterfinals of the Gulf Coast Athletic
Conference Tournament at The Barn.
The victory, the Gold Nuggets' fourth in a row and their second in a
week against William Carey, moved them into the semifinals against SUNO,
a 56-37 winner against Spring Hill. Second-seeded Xavier (22-10) will
meet third-seeded SUNO (17-7) at 7 p.m. Friday at The Barn.
Helaire, a senior from Natchitoches, La., who scored six points in her
first nine games, hit a running bank shot with 38 seconds remaining to
tie the score at 37, then hit the second of two free throws with 10.2
seconds remaining to give the Nuggets their first lead in more than 3
1/2 minutes. The teams traded turnovers in the final 10 seconds, then the
Lady Saders' Leironica Evans missed a 3-pointer from 35 feet as time
Jarryn Cleaves scored 13 points for Xavier, and Dominee Matthews had 10
points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double since Nov. 4.
Randi Cyprien had nine points, eight rebounds and five assists for
William Carey (10-16), which lost for the 14th consecutive time to Xavier.
Xavier advanced despite shooting a season-low 23.1 percent from the
floor. William Carey shot 26 percent, and both teams committed 23
Xavier led 21-15 at halftime and had 10-point leads in both halves, the
last at 28-18 with 15:50 remaining. But the Lady Saders chipped away
and took a 36-35 lead — their first in more than 30 minutes — when
Taphne Jackson made the second of two free throws with 3:15 remaining.
Nikki Smith made it 37-35 when she hit the second of two free throws with
47 seconds to play.
Then Helaire became the hero, and Xavier advanced to the semifinals for
the sixth consecutive time.