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Gold Nuggets repeat as GCAC Tournament champion
March 5, 2011

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     JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Keldra Hall scored 14 points and Christina Warren 13 Saturday to lead Xavier University of Louisiana to a 71-44 women's basketball victory over Tougaloo in the championship game of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament.
     The Gold Nuggets (26-6), ranked 20th in NAIA Division I, won the tournament for the second straight year and the 12th time overall to extend their GCAC record. Xavier will receive the GCAC's automatic bid to the NAIA Division I National Championship at Jackson, Tenn., and play a first-round game March 16 or 17. Pairings and game times will be announced Wednesday.
     Hall, selected the tournament's most valuable player, and Warren combined for 20 points in leading Xavier to a 40-17 advantage by halftime. The Nuggets shot 63 percent from the floor in the first half and finished at 54.7 percent, their second-best accuracy of the season.
     No one else had more than seven points for the Nuggets — Brandi Young and freshmen Paige Gauthier and Carmen Holcombe scored seven apiece — but all 13 players scored.
     "I thought our depth wore (Tougaloo) down," said XU Coach Bo Browder, whose teams have won five GCAC tourneys in his 12 seasons. "I said early in the season that we'd be playing our best basketball at the end of the season, and we are."
     Xavier matched a tournament record for the widest winning margin in the championship round. Mobile defeated Louisiana College 79-52 in 1993.
     Victoria Jones led Tougaloo (12-17) with 14 points and 11 rebounds — her 10th consecutive double-double and third of the tournament — and Portia Craft scored 10. The Lady Bulldogs shot 26.3 percent from the floor, and it was the second straight day that Xavier limited an opponent to less than 30 percent.
     Joining Hall on the six-player all-tournament team were Young and teammate Jazmoné Kelly, Tougaloo's Jones, Ebony Presha of Edward Waters and Ariel Mitchell of Dillard.
     "This is the first time I've won a championship on any level," said Hall, a junior center from Dallas who has played basketball for 10 years. "My first MVP too. I was surprised to win MVP. I thought Christina would win it."
     Warren, the GCAC Player of the Year, made amends for a subpar performance in Friday's semifinals — five points for the game and two quick fouls that sent her to the bench — by hitting three consecutive 3-pointers in the first four minutes.
     "I had my mind set today to stay out of foul trouble and just shoot the ball and play harder on defense," Warren said.
     Defensively it was more of the same for the Nuggets, who extended their school record by allowing less than 50 points for the 18th time this season. The previous mark was 15, a record matched last season.
     "We've had major trials and tribulations within the past 12 months of the program." Browder said. "Losing my father (in April), losing two all-conference players who could've been here today, including one who would've been an All-American. People think winning is easy. But it never is when you bring a group of young people together to win a championship."


 

 
Gulf Coast Athletic Conference
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

The Xavier Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets compete in Division I of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) as a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC).
Xavier fields men's teams in basketball, cross country and tennis and women's teams in basketball, cross country, tennis and volleyball.

Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
Xavier University of Louisiana
1 Drexel Drive
Campus Box 92
New Orleans, LA 70125
(504) 520-7329 phone
(504) 520-7934 fax

 
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