Gold Nuggets earn wire-to-wire victory at Paul Quinn

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DALLAS — Mikayla Bates scored a career-high-tying 16 points Tuesday to lead Xavier University of Louisiana to a wire-to-wire 71-56 women’s basketball victory against Paul Quinn.

The Gold Nuggets (7-5) snapped a two-game losing streak and won on the road for the first time since Nov. 14.

Bates, a junior guard, was 6-of-9 from the floor and had seven rebounds and six steals.

Maya Trench had 13 points and four assists for XULA — her three first-half 3-pointers tied her career best — and Gina Smith had a season-high-tying 11 points, seven rebounds and a career-best four steals. Essence Wells and Ireyon Keith scored nine points apiece.

“Our defense was probably the best thing we had going for us,” XULA coach Bo Browder said. “We played hard for 40 minutes. That was also a big thing.”

XULA outscored the Lady Tigers (7-8) in each of the first three periods and held its largest lead, 55-34, entering the fourth quarter. It was 32-25 at halftime.

Teanna Frances-Henderson scored a season-high 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Paul Quinn, and Amanda Cruz had 12 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

Both teams shot 41 percent from the floor, but XULA had a 15-4 advantage in made free throws and was a season-best plus-17 in turnover margin. The Gold Nuggets outscored Paul Quinn 15-0 in the third quarter in points off of turnovers.

XULA will return to the road for its Gulf Coast Athletic Conference opener against Edward Waters at 5:30 p.m. EST Monday in Jacksonville, Fla. The next home game will be Jan. 17.

Also Tuesday, the Gold Nuggets received zero points in the NAIA Division I coaches poll after collecting votes in each of the first two rankings. XULA was 32nd in the previous poll Dec. 5.

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