|Basketball Home Games
|Men's Cross Country
|Women's Cross Country
|Gold Star Dance Team
|Golden Girls Pom Squad
In the Mississippi Valley,
In the Crescent Bend
Stands our loved and noble Xavier,
Far her praises send.
Wave her colors bear them onward
Gold and white so true
Hail to thee, all hail, dear Xavier
Hail, all hail, X.U.!
Xavier, ever be our guide
And lead us on the way,
Through life's journey, onward, upward
To the eternal day. (Refrain)
Gold Nuggets rally late to beat LSUS, win GCAC tourney
March 8, 2010
NEW ORLEANS — The Xavier University of Louisiana
women's basketball team stole this one.
The Gold Nuggets turned five steals into baskets
during a late 13-2 burst Monday that rallied Xavier to a 56-51 victory over
LSU-Shreveport in the championship game of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference
Tournament at The Barn.
Xavier (28-5), ranked 20th in the NAIA, improved its
winning streak to 21 games — one less than the school record — and
extended its conference record of GCAC Tournament championships to 11. The Nuggets
won the tournament for the second time in three years.
But the streak and a record-tying regular season —
when Xavier became the second GCAC women's team to finish 18-0 —
were in danger of losing some luster when LSUS (23-6) led 46-42 after Whitney
Hollins' coast-to-coast basket with 5:33 remaining.
But a Jazmoné Kelly free throw and a Brittany Powell
basket cut the Lady Pilots' lead to 46-45 at 4:27, and then came what Xavier
Coach Bo Browder described as "our calling card — our bread and butter."
The Nuggets produced five steals in the next six LSUS
possessions and scored after every steal to take a decisive 56-48 lead with 40
seconds remaining. Kelly's steal at 4:04 — the Nuggets' 500th of the
season — led to SiMon Franklin's basket at 3:45 to put Xavier ahead to
"It was nothing I told them," Browder said of his
Nuggets. "They got after it late. They knew they'd have to step it up defensively
to win the game. That's how we've been winning all year."
The only score in the Nuggets' late run which didn't
follow a turnover was Brandi Young's right-side 3-pointer at 2:12 to make it
52-48. That made it a two-or-more possession game the rest of the way.
"Coach told me to be confident," Young said of her
3-pointer, just her seventh fo the season and the Nuggets' second of the game
after nine consecutive long-range misses. "My defender gave me a lot of room
to shoot, so I was confident."
Kelly had three of the five late steals, and her final
one led to her layup and a 56-48 lead with 40 seconds remaining.
Powell, the GCAC Player of the Year, led Xavier with 19
points, and Kelly had nine. Both grabbed eight rebounds and produced four steals.
Sharday Cotton, the GCAC Newcomer of the Year, led LSUS
with 18 points and 11 rebounds. TiKandis Edwards had eight points and 11 rebounds.
Two-time All-GCAC point guard Valerie Huizar had six points and eight assists,
but for the third time in as many games against Xavier this season, the GCAC's
most accurate free-throw shooter failed to get to the line. She entered the
final with a streak of 25 made free throws in a row, including a 16-of-16
performance against SUNO in the quarterfinals.
"SiMon Franklin played some big-time defense against
that point guard in the second half," Browder said.
LSUS, led by Cotton's 10 points and seven rebounds,
led 30-25 at the break. It was just the third time this season Xavier trailed
at halftime, but the Nuggets rallied to win all three. The first halftime deficit was in
the conference opener at LSUS, when Xavier trailed by eight before winning
48-45. That was the game which started the winning streak.
"We had been there before," Browder said of the
halftime deficit. "We knew going in it would be a war with LSUS. We
knew we just had to work harder defensively and get some more stops."
The game matched NAIA Division I's No. 1 (Xavier)
and No. 3 scoring defenses. The Nuggets also rank second in steals per game.
"This might be my best defense," said Browder, who
is 271-94 in 11 seasons at Xavier with five GCAC regular-season championships
and four GCAC Tournament titles.
LSUS, the tournament's No. 2 seed, lost on the road
in the championship game for the second straight year. But both the Lady Pilots
and Nuggets are headed to Jackson, Tenn., next week with the GCAC's automatic
bids to the NAIA Division I National Championship. They'll play first-round
games in the 32-team tournament on March 17 or 18.
Photos by Irving Johnson III / click on photos for larger view
The Gold Nuggets celebrate another championship.
Brittany Powell, left, and Brandi Young.
Jazmoné Kelly, left, and SiMon Franklin.
The Gold Nuggets with their tournament mementos.
The Gold Nuggets' 11 GCAC Tournament titles
1982 Xavier 88, William Carey 74
1990 Xavier 69, SUNO 56
1994 Xavier 73, Mobile 56
1995 Xavier 66, Mobile 55
1996 Xavier 70, Mobile 56
1997 Xavier 81, Tougaloo 77
1998 Xavier 76, Louisiana College 66
2001 Xavier 49, Dillard 48
2005 Xavier 78, Mobile 63
2008 Xavier 65, Loyola 64
2010 Xavier 56, LSU-Shreveport 51