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