Early surge carries unbeaten LSUS past Gold Nuggets

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SHREVEPORT, La. — Maya Trench scored a season-high 16 points for Xavier University of Louisiana, but an early LSU-Shreveport run carried the Pilots to a 73-62 women’s basketball victory Saturday.

The Pilots, ranked 25th in NAIA Division I, outscored the Gold Nuggets 11-0 in the first three minutes in a wire-to-wire decision. Christina Devers scored a season-high 32 points and made five 3-pointers for LSUS.

LSUS is 14-0, and XULA is 6-5. The Pilots tied their school record for consecutive victories.

Trench had one of the best shooting performances of her career, making 8-of-15 from the floor. Essence Wells scored 11 points for XULA, and Gina Smith had seven points and 10 rebounds. It was the second straight game that Smith reached double figures in rebounds.

LSUS led 26-14 after one quarter and 45-31 at halftime, but a XULA rally cut the Pilots’ lead to 53-47 by the end of the third period. It was still a single-digit difference before the Pilots closed with a 17-8 run in the final four minutes.

LSUS outshot XULA 44.2 to 35.6 percent from the floor. The Pilots made 10-of-17 3-pointers to the Gold Nuggets’ 3-of-16.

XULA had a 39-32 rebound advantage but committed a season-worst 27 turnovers — including five offensive fouls and 15 LSUS steals.

The Gold Nuggets are 1-4 this season against ranked NAIA opponents.

XULA will stay on the road and play Paul Quinn at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Dallas. The Gold Nuggets’ next home game will be Jan. 17.

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