Unique stat line propels Bates to GCAC weekly award

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NEW ORLEANS — It’s back-to-back wins for Xavier University of Louisiana women’s basketball and the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week award.

Mikayla Bates, a 5-foot-7 junior guard from Baton Rouge, La., and a graduate of University Lab School, is the GCAC winner for Jan. 1-7 after producing 16 points, seven rebounds and six steals Jan. 2 in a 71-56 victory at Paul Quinn.

Bates is the only Gold Nugget in the last 14 seasons to reach 16 points, seven rebounds and six steals in the same game. Bates for the season is XULA’s No. 3 scorer with 7.5 points per game, No. 2 in rebounds per game at 5.5 and the team leader with 3.1 steals per game. Bates ranks 10th in NAIA Division I in that latter category and is 16th in total steals with 40.

The GCAC award is the first for Bates. Backcourt teammate Maya Trench was the recipient for Dec. 25-31. It’s the first time since the end of the 2015-16 season — Trana Hopkins, then Whitney Gathright — that the Gold Nuggets produced back-to-back winners.

Back-to-back victories on the court have been more difficult for the Gold Nuggets to achieve recently. XULA, which dropped three of its last four decisions and four of its last six, will travel to Tougaloo, Miss., for a 3 p.m. Saturday GCAC matchup against Tougaloo. The Gold Nuggets are 7-6 overall and 0-1 in the league after losing 66-62 Monday at Edward Waters.

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