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8 seed Fisk outworks XU, wins 64-52 in GCAC tourney
February 28, 2013

Box score

     LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — For most of the past 10 seasons, Xavier University of Louisiana women's basketball teams had few problems winning in the quarterfinals of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament.
     But eighth-seeded Fisk caused plenty of problems for the top-seeded Gold Nuggets on Thursday, attacking the basket with ease and shooting 43 free throws in a 64-52 quarterfinal upset at Barton Coliseum.
     It's the first time since 2000 that Xavier (24-5) lost in the quarterfinals. The Gold Nuggets entered the tournament with a 12-game win streak, their longest in three years, and a No. 10 ranking in NAIA Division I.
     Raona Stowers scored 14 of her 19 points in the second half, including 10-of-14 free throws, for Fisk (9-20). The Lady Bulldogs had lost all five previous meetings against Xavier by an average of 28.6 points during the last two seasons.
     "We didn't really focus for this game," said guard SiMon Franklin, Xavier's only senior. "We were looking past this game and not looking at getting through this game first."
     Whitney Gaston-Loyd scored 12 points, and Franklin and Danielle Tucker scored 10 each for Xavier.
     Janine Davis scored 17 points and Rasheda Ademosu 11 for Fisk.
     Xavier had won its previous 10 quarterfinal games by an average of 20 points, including a 73-49 decision against Fisk a year ago.
     But this time Fisk outshot Xavier 46.3 to 28.6 percent from the floor — 50 to 26.5 percent in the second half — and made 23-of-43 free throws to the Gold Nuggets' 10-of-15. Although Xavier led 26-24 at halftime, the Lady Bulldogs spent nearly 15 minutes of the first half with the lead. Ademosu made the front end of a 1-and-1 with 12:17 remaining to put Fisk ahead to stay, 33-32. That was the second point of an 11-0 run which gave Fisk a 42-32 lead with 9:11 remaining. The Gold Nuggets never got closer than eight points in the final seven minutes.
     "If you don't play with a passion and a determination to win, you can get beat on any given night," said Bo Browder, who lost for just the second time in 13 quarterfinals as XU's head coach. "We did not play Xavier basketball today.
     "I am very disappointed in our team, but you have to give a lot of credit to Fisk. Their guards did a great job penetrating to the basket. We didn't do a good job defending them. You get to the line 43 times, and you've got a shot to win."
     Fisk was to play fifth-seeded Philander Smith, a 65-58 winner against fourth-seeded Tougaloo, in the semifinals at noon Friday. But Tougaloo was awarded a forfeit because Philander Smith used an ineligible player on Thursday.
     Xavier will wait and hope for an at-large bid Wednesday to the 32-team NAIA Division I National Championship, which will begin March 13 in Frankfort, Ky. The Gold Nuggets reached nationals 16 of the previous 18 seasons, including each of the last three. Xavier defeated higher-ranked teams in the first round at nationals in 2011 and 2012.
     "I think we'll get a bid because of our body of work," Browder said.
     But Franklin, after an eye-opening upset, was more cautious. "I can just hope for the best at this point," she said. "We held a high ranking throughout the year. I hope that would be enough to get us there. But we did not perform well today, so there's no guarantee."



 

 
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, tennis and track and field and women's teams in basketball, cross country, tennis, track and field and volleyball.

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