Xavier Classic returns for its usual Thanksgiving tip off
November 25, 2009
Xavier Classic page
NEW ORLEANS — Seven HBCU women's basketball
teams from five states — including unbeaten local NAIA rivals Xavier University
of Louisiana and Dillard — will compete Thanksgiving Day and Friday in the annual Xavier Classic.
The tournament will tip off at 3 p.m. Thursday at The Barn
when Langston (1-5) plays Tougaloo (3-2). Dillard (4-0) will play Tuskegee (1-1)
at 5 p.m., and Xavier (5-0) will play Texas College (3-1) at 7.
Friday's games will match Dillard and Texas College
at 1 p.m., Grambling (1-2) and Tuskegee at 3 and Xavier and Langston at 5.
Texas College has a three-game winning streak and
needs one victory to equal its total of 2008-09. Tuskegee, an NCAA DIvision II
member, has recorded winning records in nine of Coach Belinda Roby's first 10 seasons.
"We've got a good group of teams coming to the Xavier
Classic," Browder said. "Texas College, our Thursday opponent, is much improved
since last season and will be a big challenge. Langston will be tough on Friday
too. Langston's record doesn't look impressive at first glance, but they've
played probably the hardest non-conference schedule in the NAIA so far."
Langston's five losses are by an average of 4.2 points,
including road games at NAIA No. 8 Oklahoma City and No. 15 Southern Nazarene.
There's an odd number of teams this year because Grambling
was available for one game only. "But we're happy to accommodate Grambling," Xavier
Coach Bo Browder said. "Their coach, Donnita Rogers, has been here many times when she
coached Langston, and she's always looked forward to the tournament.
"And Grambling fans in town for the Bayou Classic will
have a chance to check out the Lady Tigers."
Tougaloo — led by sophomore Victoria Jones, who
averages 22 points and an NAIA Division I-leading 16.6 rebounds per game — will fill
Grambling's spot in Thursday's schedule. The Lady Bulldogs will face a Langston team
which seeks a fourth consecutive berth in the NAIA Division I National Championship.
Xavier, a perennial national contender, is 5-0 for the first
time since 1996-97 and outscored its past two opponents by a combined 99 points.
Dillard is off to its best start since the 2004-05 season, when it won its first eight games.
Xavier, meanwhile, is taking aim at more of the same.
The Gold Nuggets were 7-1 in the past four Xavier Classics —
they beat Langston 67-63 on Thanksgiving night a year ago —
and have won 82 times in their past 85 games at The Barn.