Defense improves, but Nuggets still get burned by Fire

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NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana gained 31 turnovers Sunday, but shot-making again was an issue in a 60-39 women’s basketball loss to Southeastern (Fla.).

The Gold Nuggets, a 19-game winner last season and a perennial NAIA national tourney contender, are 0-2 for just the fourth time during the Title IX era.

XULA’s Mikayla Bates had 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds in her first collegiate double-double. Bates, a starter for the third straight season, also had three assists and two steals.

Ana Richter scored 15 points, Jaycee Coe 13 and Marlene Schmidt 11 for Southeastern (3-0), the fourth-ranked team in NAIA Division II. It was the Southeastern’s 31st victory in its last 32 games.

Despite a plus-6 advantage in turnovers, XULA was outscored 26-16 in points off of turnovers. The Gold Nuggets shot 13 percent from the floor in the first half and finished at 26.5 percent for the game. Southeastern shot 64.7 percent from the floor, 73.3 percent in the first half.

The Fire led 28-13 at halftime.

XULA shot 17.9 percent from the floor Thursday in a 76-45 loss at city rival Loyola.

“I thought our defense and our effort were much improved from the Loyola game,” XULA coach Bo Browder said, “but we still couldn’t make shots. If we had shot it a little better, this might have been a different game.”

The Gold Nuggets made 9-of-20 free throws on their home floor after making 14-of-15 on the road in their opener.

XULA will visit NCAA Division I Louisiana-Lafayette at 2 p.m. Saturday in an exhibition for both teams.

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