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2013-14 Xavier University of Louisiana Women's Basketball Preview
Browder says Nuggets have the energy to stand out again

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     After a series of practices and the first of two October scrimmages, Bo Browder was ready to declare his Xavier University of Louisiana women's basketball team capable of meeting the challenges of the 2013-14 season.
     "We'll be fine," said Browder, in his 15th season as head coach of the Gold Nuggets and two victories from his 350th at Xavier. "We've got some new players, and they're blending in to our program. What I saw in our first scrimmage was a team where everybody played all-out from start to finish. I liked that. I liked that a lot. If we can maintain that kind of focus — and I think we will — then we'll have a good year."
     There are eight returning letterwomen, including starters Whitney Gaston-Loyd (All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference in 2012-13) and Carmen Holcombe. Also back is preseason All-GCAC selection Paige Gauthier. Joining them will be seven newcomers and a redshirt freshman. The team has five seniors.
     The Gold Nuggets, 24-6 a year ago and 12-2 in the GCAC, seek a fourth consecutive GCAC regular-season championship,
About the Gold Nuggets

Head Coach: Bo Browder (Grambling 1994), 15th season; 348-117 at Xavier in 14 seasons, 350-125 overall in 15 seasons
Associate Head Coach: Darrilyn Broussard (Xavier 1986), 13th season
2012-13 Record: 24-6 overall, 12-2 (first place) in Gulf Coast Athletic Conference
2012-13 Postseason: GCAC Tournament quarterfinalist; first round of NAIA Division I National Championship
2012-13 Scoring: offense 65.2 ppg, defense 52.2 ppg
Leading Returning Scorer: Whitney Gaston-Loyd, 9.2 ppg
Leading Returning Rebounders: Paige Gauthier and Carmen Holcombe, 4.9 rpg
20 victories for the 21st time in 22 seasons and a berth at nationals for the fifth consecutive year and the 18th time in 20 seasons. Browder's teams have been close to unbeatable in games at Xavier, winning 92 percent (185-16). They were 15-2 at home last season, which was their first in the Convocation Center, a $25 million facility that seats nearly 4,000.
     Gaston-Loyd, a 6-foot senior center, was the Nuggets' No. 2 scorer last season with 9.2 points per game. She also averaged 3.6 rebounds and blocked a team-best 21 shots and shot a team-high 52 percent from the floor. She scored in double figures 15 times.
     Holcombe, a 5-11 senior forward, averaged 6.2 points and shared the team lead in rebounding with Gauthier at 4.9. Gauthier, a 5-6 senior guard, averaged 7.5 points to rank third on the team, led the Nuggets with 64 assists and was second with 26 made 3-pointers and 67 steals.
     The other returning letterwomen are seniors Danielle Tucker and Chelsea Broussard and sophomores Whitney Gathright, Emoni Harvey and Amara Person-Hampton.
     Tucker, a 5-10 forward, started 10 times and averaged 7.3 points and 4.0 rebounds and ranked fourth on the team in scoring. Broussard, a 6-foot forward, averaged 3.9 points and 2.7 rebounds and ranked second on the Nuggets with 17 blocked shots. Gathright, a 5-4 guard, averaged 3.0 points and had 55 assists and 42 steals. Harvey, a 5-6 guard, averaged 1.5 points and had 41 assists and 45 steals. Person-Hampton, a 6-1 center, played just 94 minutes in 21 games but produced 14 points, 20 rebounds, eight blocks and nine steals.
     The redshirt freshman is 6-2 center Kelsee Singleton. First-year Gold Nuggets are 5-7 junior guard/forward Vinnie Briggs, 5-9 sophomore guard/forward Kaci Cason, 5-6 sophomore guard Alesha Smith, 5-10 freshman forward Daylin Boatner, 5-11 freshman forward Jasmine Bush, 5-4 freshman guard Kelsey Joseph and 5-9 freshman guard/forward Taylor Norman.
     "I like this signing class," Browder said. "They'll all have a chance to help us out this year. Kelsee Singleton has worked hard to improve her skills in the post, so she'll get her chances, too."
     The schedule differs greatly from last season, when the Nuggets played their first eight at home and 17 at home overall. This season there will be 11 home games and just two in the first 10. Browder moved the Xavier Classic from Thanksgiving to the week after Christmas, although the coach says he'll try to return the tournament to Thanksgiving for future years. There will be seven games against teams which appeared in last season's NAIA national tournament: Our Lady of the Lake, LSU-Shreveport, Oklahoma City, Faulkner, Southern Poly and GCAC and city rival SUNO twice. Of those seven, SUNO on Jan. 11 will be the lone home game.
     "It's another tough schedule, and I wanted it that way," Browder said. "We're looking forward to some great tests and seeing how well we stack up."
     Xavier will open its 36th season of the Title IX era on Nov. 2 against Langston at a neutral site, Grand Prairie, Texas, a Dallas suburb. The home opener will be Nov. 9 against Spring Hill.
     Browder — the Nuggets' winningest coach since 2005 and the only Louisiana collegiate women's basketball coach to produce 12 consecutive 20-victory seasons — needs two victories to reach 350 at Xavier. His XU teams are 348-117.


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.

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

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