No. 10 Lady Tigers beat Gold Nuggets in final 5 seconds
January 3, 2010
NEW ORLEANS — Whitney Ballinger made two free
throws with 4.9 seconds remaining Sunday to lift Campbellsville to a 71-70
women's basketball victory over Xavier University of Louisiana.
The Lady Tigers (13-1), ranked 10th in NAIA Division I,
won their sixth in a row and got a season-high 27 points from Courtney Danis.
Ballinger, a second-team All-American a year ago, had 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Brittany Powell scored 17 points and Jasmine Grant 12
for Xavier (7-5), which lost for the fourth time in seven days after leading by
double digits. The Gold Nuggets' past three losses are by a total of four points.
Marchelle Jones missed an 18-footer with two seconds
remaining for Xavier, and the Lady Tigers' Kristi Ensminger controlled the rebound
as time expired.
The Nuggets led by 11 points twice in the first half and
by 10 after halftime. But seven players scored during a 16-3 Campbellsville burst
which began in the 29th minute to erase a 50-41 XU advantage and give the Lady
Tigers a 57-53 lead with 6:33 remaining. There with six lead changes thereafter,
with the Nuggets missing several opportunities to earn their first victory of the
season against a ranked opponent. Most notably:
• Xavier led 68-65 in the 39th minute, but Jones
missed from the floor and Campbellsville rebounded. Danis scored on the next
possession to make it 68-67 with 90 seconds to play.
• Jazmoné Kelly missed both ends of a double-bonus
free throw with 11 seconds remaining and Xavier leading 70-69. Ballinger rebounded,
drew a foul on her way to the basket, then made the winning free throws.
The Nuggets outshot the Lady Tigers 42 to 39 percent
from the floor and outrebounded them 39-37, but Xavier shot 31 percent from the
floor and committed 15 turnovers in the second half to help Campbellsville's comeback.
Ballinger, who scored 40 points Saturday in a 10-point
victory at NAIA No. 21 Loyola, scored well below her 21.7 season average but had nine
points in the final 10:18 and added three assists, five blocked shots and five
steals for the game.
Each team committed 26 turnovers, but Xavier's total
was a season high.
Jones had eight points, a season-high-tying eight assists,
five rebounds and five steals for Xavier, and older sister Danielle had eight points
and eight rebounds.
But it wasn't enough for Xavier, which has dropped three
straight at home and five of six overall since a 6-0 start. The three losses are
the Nuggets' most at The Barn since the 2001-02 season. They entered Sunday's
game with 80 victories in their past 85 games at their campus gym.
Xavier, third place a year ago in the Gulf Coast
Athletic Conference, will travel to LSU-Shreveport for a 5:30 p.m. Thursday
game and the GCAC opener for both. LSUS denied Xavier a berth in the 2009
NAIA Division I National Championship by beating the Nuggets in semifinals
of the GCAC Tournament.