Nuggets explode in 4th quarter to tame Lady Tigers

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NEW ORLEANS — Mikayla Bates and Ireyon Keith combined Monday to make 5-of-5 fourth-quarter 3-pointers — the sharpest daggers in a 19-0 run that carried Xavier University of Louisiana to a 70-62 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference women’s basketball victory against Edward Waters.

The Gold Nuggets (9-11, 2-5) earned their second straight GCAC victory after dropping their first five decisions.

XULA trailed 47-46 through three quarters, then took control with seven scores in eight possessions during the first five minutes of the fourth. Keith sank treys at 9:33 and 5:01, and sandwiched in between were Bates 3-pointers at 7:32, 6:31 and 5:45. Gina Smith and DeDe Martinez tacked on 2-pointers.

On the other side of the rally, Martinez and Maya Trench produced steals, and Smith blocked a shot.

Bates finished with 14 points, and Martinez, Keith and Taylor Jacob scored 10 apiece. Smith grabbed six rebounds and produced a career-high-tying four steals for the second straight game, and Trench had seven assists. Martinez had three blocks and three steals.

Jermisha Collins scored 20 points, Lashe Kirkland 14 and Brittany Thompson 12 for the Lady Tigers (19-4, 4-3), who were denied their first-ever two-game regular-season sweep of XULA. Collins had five steals, and Kirkland and Brittany Rowell grabbed seven rebounds apiece.

The Gold Nuggets produced season bests for field-goal accuracy, 46.8 percent, and 3-point accuracy, 57.1. Their eight made 3s tied a season high.

XULA will visit GCAC and city rival SUNO at 5:30 p.m. next Monday.

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