Gold Nuggets cool off No. 17 Dillard in Crosstown Classic
NEW ORLEANS — Sophomore Dasia Pitre scored nine of her career-high 19 points in the fourth quarter Saturday to help Xavier University of Louisiana rally for a 75-63 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference women’s basketball victory against NAIA No. 17 Dillard in the opening game of the Crosstown Classic presented by Raising Cane’s at XULA’s Convocation Center.
The Gold Nuggets (11-11, 4-5) earned their fourth consecutive GCAC victory and reached .500 for the first time in more than a month. They snapped the eight-game win streak of the Lady Bleu Devils (21-4, 9-2), who were trying to clinch an outright GCAC regular-season championship.
XULA trailed 42-33 after Shaelynn Moore’s 3-pointer for Dillard at 5:33 of the third quarter, then outscored its longtime rival 42-21 thereafter.
Pitre’s basket — part of an 11-0 run — put XULA ahead to stay, 53-51, with 8:17 remaining. An Ireyon Keith 3-pointer at 2:32 gave the Gold Nuggets their largest lead, 67-54.
Keith scored 14 points to tie her season high. Gina Smith had 10 points and 11 rebounds — her team-leading third double-double of the season — and Essence Wells scored 10.
Adriiana Jackson scored 20 points, Alyssa Washington 13 and Moore 10 for Dillard. Moore, who scored a career-best 36 points Monday at Tougaloo, was scoreless in the fourth quarter.
XULA shot 36 percent from the floor through three quarters but 43.8 percent in the final period. “That’s a key for us,” XULA coach Bo Browder said. “If we can continue to shoot 40 percent in the fourth quarter, we’ll have a chance to win a lot of games.”
An Edward Waters loss at Talladega also would have given Dillard an outright GCAC title, but the Lady Tigers won 63-61 Saturday. Edward Waters could earn a share of the GCAC title by winning its last three games, including next Saturday at home against Dillard.
Browder said he isn’t concerned about standings or seedings. “We just have to focus on making good decisions and bringing our energy,” he said. “We did that today, and we’re hopeful it continues.”
XULA will play Philander Smith in a GCAC game at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Convocation Center.
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