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2007 bracket (PDF file)
Gold Nuggets will meet Saints in NAIA first round
For immediate release . . . March 7, 2007

NEW ORLEANS — The Xavier University of Louisiana women's basketball team will get another shot at a Frontier Conference opponent when it meets Carroll College (Mont.) next week in the opening round of the NAIA Division I National Tournament.

The Gold Nuggets qualified for the tournament Friday, and the NAIA announced pairings Wednesday. Xavier (23-11) will play Carroll (29-4) at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14 at Oman Arena in Jackson, Tenn. Each eight-team portion of this 32-team event is seeded 1-8. Xavier is No. 6 in its group, and Carroll is No. 3.

"We had two challenging games in December against Westminster and Montana Western, and they're both from Carroll's conference," Xavier Coach Bo Browder said. "I expect Carroll to be another tough test."

Xavier lost 47-44 to Westminster (Utah) on Dec. 29 in the South Padre Island Shootout at Los Fresnos, Texas, then defeated Montana Western 45-44 the following day on Tiffany Norris' basket at the buzzer.

Carroll's Saints finished third in the Frontier Conference standings at 10-4, then went 3-0 to win the conference tournament. Carroll, ranked 11th in the final NAIA regular-season poll, was 1-1 each against Westminster and Montana Western this season. Westminster and Montana Western received at-large bids to the NAIA tourney.

Twelve of Xavier's last 13 teams have qualified for the NAIA tourney, including the last six. The streak does not include the 2005-06 school year, when Xavier did not compete in athletics because of the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Xavier's journey to Jackson this season was injury-filled. Four of the Nuggets' projected starters suffered torn ACLs and are out for the season. Browder added two walk-ons in late January after the roster dipped to nine players, nearly half the preseason total of 17.

The Nuggets rebounded from a four-game February losing streak with three consecutive road victories to close the regular season and finish second in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference at 13-5. Then Xavier won two GCAC Tournament games at home before losing 73-68 Monday at No. 21 Loyola, the GCAC regular-season champion, in the tourney final.

Xavier has two All-GCAC players: junior guard Jarryn Cleaves and sophomore forward/center Erica Turnbull. Cleaves, a three-time all-conference selection, averages a team-leading 13.9 points and has made 84 3-pointers, a Xavier season record. Turnbull, who did not become a permanent starter until the eighth game, averages 12.4 points and a team-best 7.7 rebounds.

Carroll features the best female 3-point shooter in the NAIA, 5-foot-10 junior guard Jolene Fuzesy. She leads Division I in with a .558 3-point field-goal percentage and is second in 3-pointers made per game, 3.9. Teammate Laci High, another junior guard, is shooting .421 from behind the arc.

The Xavier-Carroll winner will meet the Trevecca Nazarene-Westmont winner in the second round at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 16. Xavier lost to Trevecca and defeated Westmont this season. Quarterfinals will be played Saturday, March 17, with semifinals on Monday, March 19 and the championship on Tuesday, March 20.

Xavier is 5-11 in 11 trips to the NAIA tourney. The Nuggets' most recent first-round victory was 64-55 against Trevecca in 2003. No Xavier team has reached the quarterfinals.

NAIA Division I Women's National Tournament
Automatic Qualifiers (with nickname and school location)
American Midwest Conference — Harris-Stowe (Hornets / St. Louis, Mo.)
Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference — Saint Xavier (Cougars / Chicago, Ill.)
Frontier Conference — Carroll (Saints / Helena, Mont.)
Golden State Athletic Conference — Vanguard (Lions / Costa Mesa, Calif.)
Golden State Athletic Conference — Point Loma Nazarene (Sea Lions / San Diego, Calif.)
Gulf Coast Athletic Conference — Loyola (Wolfpack / New Orleans, La.)
Gulf Coast Athletic Conference — Xavier (Gold Nuggets / New Orleans, La.)
Independent Qualifying Tournament — Brescia (Lady Bearcats / Owensboro, Ky.)
Mid-South Conference — West Virginia Tech (Golden Bears / Montgomery, W.Va.)
Red River Athletic Conference — Langston (Lady Lions / Langston, Okla.)
Red River Athletic Conference — Houston Baptist (Huskies / Houston, Texas)
Sooner Athletic Conference — Lubbock Christian (Lady Chaps / Lubbock, Texas)
Sooner Athletic Conference — Southern Nazarene (Crimson Storm / Bethany, Okla.)
Southern States Athletic Conference — Lee (Lady Flames / Cleveland, Tenn.)
Southern States Athletic Conference — Auburn-Montgomery (Lady Senators / Montgomery, Ala.)
TranSouth Athletic Conference — Union (Lady Bulldogs / Jackson, Tenn.)
TranSouth Athletic Conference — Trevecca Nazarene (Trojans / Nashville, Tenn.)

At-Large Berths (with nickname and school location)
At-Large A — Westmont (Warriors / Santa Barbara, Calif.)
At-Large B — Westminster (Lady Griffins / Salt Lake City, Utah)
At-Large C — Oklahoma City (Stars / Oklahoma City, Okla.)
At-Large D — Oklahoma Christian (Lady Eagles / Oklahoma City, Okla.)
At-Large E — Oklahoma Baptist (Lady Bison / Shawnee, Okla.)
At-Large F — Montana Western (Lady Bulldogs / Dillon, Mont.)
At-Large G — McKendree (Bearcats / Lebanon, Ill.)
At-Large H — Master's (Lady Mustangs / Newhall, Calif.)
At-Large I — Lewis-Clark State (Warriors / Lewiston, Idaho)
At-Large J — Lambuth (Lady Eagles / Jackson, Tenn.)
At-Large K — Freed-Hardeman (Lady Lions / Henderson, Tenn.)
At-Large L — Cumberlands (Patriots / Williamsburg, Ky.)
At-Large M — Cumberland (Lady Bulldogs / Lebanon, Tenn.)
At-Large N — Columbia (Lady Cougars / Columbia, Mo.)
At-Large O — Azusa Pacific (Cougars / Azusa, Calif.)

 

 
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.

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