Gold Nuggets beat Loyola, climb into second place
January 29, 2009
NEW ORLEANS — Jasmine Grant scored nine points
and broke out of a lengthy shooting slump Thursday to help Xavier University of
Louisiana defeat Loyola 49-42 in a Gulf Coast Athletic Conference women's basketball
game at The Barn.
The Gold Nuggets (15-5 overall, 6-2 GCAC) won their
fourth in a row, extended their winning streak at The Barn to 27 games and knocked
Loyola (10-6, 6-2) out of a first-place tie in the conference.
Grant, 3-of-40 from 3-point range the previous eight
games, was 3-of-4 from behind the arc against the Wolfpack. Her first 3-pointer
capped a 7-0 run in the first three minutes.
Xavier took control in the second half when it
outscored Loyola 13-0 during a stretch of nearly nine minutes. That turned the
Wolfpack's largest lead of the game, 35-30, into a 43-35 Xavier lead with six
minutes remaining. Loyola never got closer than five points thereafter.
The Gold Nuggets limited Trenese Smith, the two-time
GCAC Player of the Year, to 10 points. Smith's twin, Trenell, had 14 points and
SiMon Franklin, Danielle Jones and Brittany Powell scored
eight points apiece for Xavier. Jones grabbed a career-high-tying 10 rebounds.
Xavier shot 30.6 percent from the floor but limited
Loyola to 23.1 percent — the lowest by a Xavier opponent in 72 games —
and gained 25 turnovers. It was the second time in three games that
the Nuggets limited an opponent to less than 25 percent from the floor.
LSU-Shreveport, an 80-61 winner at home against Dillard,
is 7-1 in the GCAC and leads by a game over Xavier, Loyola and William Carey,
a 55-45 winner at home against SUNO.
Both the Nuggets and Wolfpack will be on the road for 5 p.m. Saturday GCAC
games — Xavier at Spring Hill and Loyola at SUNO — before meeting next Wednesday
at The Den, Loyola's home.