Gold Nuggets defeated 76-68 at NAIA No. 10 Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala. — Xavier University of Louisiana women’s basketball battled NAIA No. 10 Talladega for 40 minutes, but the Lady Tornadoes rallied for a 76-68 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference victory Saturday.
The Gold Nuggets (14-12, 5-6) will stay on the road and play Edward Waters in a GCAC game at 5:30 p.m. Monday.
XULA led 63-60 with 7:11 remaining when Abryhia Irons made two free throws. The Lady Tornadoes (24-4, 12-0) then took control with eight consecutive points, including Tyeisha Juhan’s 3-pointer to make it 68-63 at 5:22. XULA never got closer than three points thereafter.
Irons and Nahrie Pierce scored 13 points apiece, Shaelynn Moore scored 10, and Essence Wells had nine for the Gold Nuggets. Irons grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds and reached double figures for the first time.
Juhan scored a career-high 25 points, Diamond Jolly and Brijanee Moore had 15 points apiece, and Kendra Williams scored 12 for Talladega.
XULA trailed 14-11 after one quarter, 28-25 at halftime and 47-37 after Moore’s 3-pointer at 4:10 of the third quarter. But the Gold Nuggets closed that period with 17-7 run and led for most of the first three minutes of the fourth quarter.
The Gold Nuggets committed a season-worst 29 turnovers but won the boards 44-27 against a Talladega team that ranked 15th nationally in rebound margin. Both teams shot just under 40 percent from the floor, and XULA made 19-of-23 free throws to Talladega’s 9-of-14.
“Other than the turnovers, we played pretty well,” XULA head coach Bo Browder said. “Defensively we were pretty decent. We showed some toughness and fought back several times. We were a couple of plays from a great win on the road against a top-10 team.
“Our players are going to have to look themselves in the mirror and figure out if they can do a better job handling adversity.”
Talladega improved its win streak to 12 and snapped the Gold Nuggets’ three-game win streak. The Lady Tornadoes are 24-0 at home over the last two seasons.
XULA can clinch a first-round (quarterfinal) home game for the GCAC Tournament with a victory against Edward Waters and a Tougaloo loss at Talladega.
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