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Gold Nuggets put win streak
on the line against Langston

November 26, 2008
    
Xavier Classic at The Barn
Thursday, November 27
Dillard (2-4) vs. Wiley (3-5), 5 p.m.
Xavier (3-1) vs. Langston (6-2), 7 p.m.
Friday, November 28
Dillard vs. Langston, 2 p.m.
Xavier vs. Wiley, 4 p.m.

     NEW ORLEANS — The Xavier University of Louisiana women's basketball team rarely loses in its home facility, The Barn. During the past two-plus seasons, Langston has rarely lost anywhere.
     So something's got to give when the Gold Nuggets (3-1), No. 19 in the NAIA Division I preseason coaches poll, play the Lady Lions (6-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Xavier Classic.
     Xavier has a 20-game winning streak at The Barn and 68 victories in its past 70 games there. One of those losses was to Langston on the second day of the 2006 Xavier Classic — it was the third game of Langston's current run of 63 victories in 69 games, including winning streaks of 24 games in 2006-07 and 27 games this past season.
     "We know all about Langston, and we have great respect for them," Xavier coach Bo Browder said. "They're a top-notch program, and they like to come to our tournament for Thanksgiving. We'll have our hands full with them."
     The opening game Thursday will match Dillard (2-4) against Wiley (3-5) at 5 p.m. Friday's pairings will be Dillard vs. Langston at 2 p.m. and Xavier vs. Wiley at 4 p.m. Admission will be free for children 12 and younger both days.
     Xavier, Langston and Wiley all appeared in the NAIA Division I National Championship in March.
     Browder scouted Langston at the Jack Souther Classic at Cleveland, Tenn., nearly two weeks ago. Both the Nuggets and the Lady Lions beat No. 23 Berry there, but Langston defeated the host, No. 7 Lee, 89-83 before Lee beat Xavier 83-73. Xavier hasn't played since then.
     "When I made the schedule I wasn't crazy about being off 11 straight days in the middle of November," Browder said. "But the layoff has given us time to work on some things — which we need to do with such a young team — and focus on Langston."
     Nine of the 15 Nuggets are freshmen, and there are no seniors on the roster for the first time since the 1994-95 season. But two freshmen, Jasmine Grant and SiMon Franklin, emerged as Xavier's top scorers through the first four games.
     Grant, a 5-foot-8 guard from Shreveport, La., leads the Nuggets with 12.3 points per game. She has scored in double figures in every game, and she was 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the first half of her first regular-season game.
     Franklin, a 5-7 guard from Baton Rouge, La., is second on the team with 11 points per game and led the Nuggets with 15 points in a come-from-behind victory against Berry.
     A third freshman, 5-4 Marchelle Jones of Baton Rouge, starts at point guard, averages 5.8 points and leads the team with three assists and 3.8 steals per game. Three more freshmen — Jazmoné Kelly, Brandi Young and Danielle Kennebrew — have played in every game.
     "I'm pleased with our freshmen so far," Browder said, "but they're going to have their share of growing pains."
     Despite its recent success, Langston did not make the preseason coaches top 25. But first-year coach Jerome Willis — who replaced Donnita Drain, who became head coach at Grambling — and four double-figure scorers, all newcomers, have the Lady Lions roaring again.
     Junior guard Sanetra Jackson, a transfer from NCAA Division I North Texas, leads Langston with 17.5 points per game. Senior guard Nikia Henry, a Missouri Baptist transfer, averages 17 points and has combined with Jackson to make 39 of the Lady Lions' 60 3-pointers.
     Xavier's Friday game will be the first of two consecutive meetings with Wiley. They'll also meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Wiley to conclude a stretch of five Xavier games in a row against teams which appeared in the 2008 NAIA national tournament.

 

 
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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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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