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Gold Nuggets beat SUNO to reach GCAC title game
For immediate release . . . March 2, 2007
Box Score

NEW ORLEANS — The Xavier University women's basketball team clinched a berth in the NAIA National Tournament by defeating SUNO 65-46 Friday in the semifinals of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament at The Barn.

Dominee Matthews and Jarryn Cleaves scored 14 points apiece for the Gold Nuggets (23-10), who will play the regular-season champion, No. 21 Loyola, for the tourney title at 7 p.m. Monday at The Den.

The GCAC receives two automatic bids to the NAIA tourney. Loyola earned the first by winning the regular season, and the second goes to the GCAC tourney champion. Should Loyola win that too, the tourney runner-up will earn the second bid.

Matthews grabbed eight rebounds, seven offensive, to help Xavier earn its 48th victory in its last 50 games at The Barn. Cleaves, a three-time All-GCAC guard, had seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.

Cleaves, held to 21-percent shooting in the first two games against SUNO this season, made 5 of 10 shots this time, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range to increase her Xavier season record to 84.

"Jarryn Cleaves showed up tonight," SUNO Coach Elston King said. "She had two off games against us. Jarryn was the difference."

Erica Turnbull had 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots for Xavier, which never trailed after outscoring SUNO 7-0 the first three minutes and led 33-16 at halftime. Twice Xavier led by 24 points in the final 13 minutes.

"We got back to playing old-fashioned Gold Nugget basketball," Xavier Coach Bo Browder said. "Hard-nosed defense and great teamwork on the offensive side."

Both teams shot 34 percent from the floor, but Xavier outrebounded SUNO 54-29, including a 19-0 first-half advantage in offensive rebounds which resulted in 12 second-chance points. The Nuggets had 16 assists and 12 steals and 10 of their 11 players scored.

Shatyne Hearn, with 10 points, was the only double-figure scorer for SUNO (17-8), which was trying to become the first team since 2000 to beat Xavier three times in a season.

Xavier limited SUNO to a season-low point total 20 days after the Lady Knights spoiled the Nuggets' senior night with a 70-55 victory.

"I felt bad after that earlier game," Matthews said. "SUNO ran us out of our own gym. We saw the film yesterday. We were walking up the court. We knew what we had to do this time."

Xavier and Loyola split their two regular-season meetings, with the home team winning both times.

The NAIA tourney will start March 14 in Jackson, Tenn. Xavier qualified for the 12th time in 14 seasons. The Nuggets did not field a team in 2005-06 because of the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

 

 
Gulf Coast Athletic Conference
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

The Xavier Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets compete in Division I of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) as a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Xavier fields men's and women's teams in basketball, cross country and tennis.

Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
Xavier University of Louisiana
1 Drexel Drive
Campus Box 92
New Orleans, LA 70125
504-520-7329 phone
504-520-7934 fax

 
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