Gold Nuggets build big lead, hold on for 55-49 victory
December 17, 2010
LAKELAND, Fla. — Marchelle Jones scored 10 of her
career-high 15 points in the second half Friday, and NAIA No. 15 Xavier University
of Louisiana held on for a 55-49 women's basketball victory over Southeastern (Fla.)
Xavier (12-2) won its third in a row and for the 33rd time
in 36 games but withstood a second-half challenge from Southeastern (2-6), an NAIA
Division II member which made 7-of-7 3-pointers in the final 18:50 to whittle XU's
18-point lead to three.
The Gold Nuggets handled the pressure, scoring on their
final four possessions, including 7-of-7 free throws in the final 90 seconds.
Jones made four of those free throws and was a career-best 8-of-8 from the line.
Christina Warren added 13 points, 11 in the first half,
for Xavier, and Keldra Hall grabbed a career-high-tying 11 rebounds.
Tori Robison, with 15 points, was Southeastern's only
double-figure scorer. Robison and teammate Breckley Neale each made a trio of
3-pointers in the second half.
Xavier outscored the Lady Fire 9-0 in the first 4˝ minutes,
then produced a 13-0 run in the final 8˝ minutes for a 25-9 halftime lead. Jones
scored on the Gold Nuggets' first possession of the second half to give them their
biggest lead, 27-9. But Robinson and Neale made 3-pointers to start an 11-0
Southeastern run, and another Neale trey at 13:06 kept the margin in single
digits the rest of the game.
Ashley Wilson's 3-pointer at 3:07 cut Xavier's lead to
44-41, but a Jazmoné Kelly basket extended the Gold Nuggets' advantage to 46-41.
Casey Jensen's basket at 1:49 made it 46-43, but a 3-point play 19 seconds later
by freshman Angelica Alexander — her only points of the game — gave
Xavier a 49-43 lead. Southeastern kept firing from long distance, with Robison
and Neale making 3-pointers in the final 32 seconds, but those were sandwiched
around the Nuggets' perfect foul shooting.
Southeastern, thanks to 13-of-17 from the floor in the
second half, outshot Xavier 47 to 32 percent for the game. But the Gold Nuggets
outrebounded the Lady Fire 35-28 and had a 16-1 advantage in steals. XU made
13-of-17 in free throws, and Southeastern was 7-of-14.
"Our defense was great the first half," Xavier Coach
Bo Browder said. "I thought we had a chance to hold Southeastern to 30 for the game.
Certainly under 40. But that wasn't the case. We've got to get better at closing
teams out. We've had some good first halves, but we've got to play just as solid
Xavier will play NAIA No. 13 William Woods at 2 p.m. EST
Saturday at Webber International's Sabbagh Athletic Center in Babson Park, Fla. William
Woods was 10-0 entering a Friday-night game at Webber and will be Xavier's third top-15
opponent this season. It will be the Gold Nuggets third game in as many days before
they break for Christmas.
"We've just got to pray and keep working," Browder said,
"because we've got a dogfight tomorrow."