Gold Nuggets beat Dillard 59-53, win GCAC title outright
February 25, 2012
NEW ORLEANS — Jasmine Grant scored 16 points
Saturday to lead NAIA No. 19 Xavier University of Louisiana to a 59-53 women's
basketball victory against Dillard which gave the Gold Nuggets the Gulf Coast
Athletic Conference regular-season championship.
Xavier (22-8 overall, 12-2 GCAC) won the title by a
game over Talladega. The Gold Nuggets will play eighth-seeded Fisk on Thursday
in the opening round of the conference tournament at Jacksonville, Fla.
Grant, a senior guard, scored eight points and made a
pair of 3-pointers in each half. Her 3-pointer at 5:05 of the first half put
Xavier ahead to stay, 21-18.
Xavier led 27-23 and had a pair of 12-point leads in
the second half, the last 47-35 when SiMon Franklin made two free throws with
6:58 remaining. Dillard then rallied to within two points twice, but Grant
and Paige Gauthier each made a pair of free throws in the final 15 seconds to
clinch the victory.
Franklin scored 11 points for the Gold Nuggets, who
closed the regular season with four consecutive victories, and Jazmoné Kelly
had game-highs of eight rebounds and four steals.
Jazzmin Smith had 15 points, seven rebounds and three
steals for Dillard (13-11, 9-5), and Ariel Mitchell scored 14.
Dillard shot 30.9 percent from the floor, and Xavier
shot 30 percent. Xavier outscored the Lady Bleu Devils 12-0 from behind the
arc and was better at the line, making 19-of-27 free throws to Dillard's
Xavier snapped Dillard's four-game win streak and beat
the Lady Bleu Devils for the seventh straight time. XU won 74-60 at The
Barn on Jan. 28.
Dillard finished in a three-way tie with SUNO and
Tougaloo in the GCAC standings at 9-5. Talladega finished second at 11-3
following its 84-61 home victory against Fisk, and SUNO won 90-83 at home
The regular-season championship is the sixth in 13
seasons for XU coach Bo Browder and the second in three years. Although the
Gold Nuggets were 6-0 in the conference a year ago, the GCAC did not award a
regular-season championship because the members did not play a double
round-robin schedule. Xavier will head to Jacksonville as the two-time
defending tournament champion and aim for a 16th bid in 18 seasons to the
NAIA National Championship.