Gold Nuggets fall to top-seeded Talladega in GCAC semifinals

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NEW ORLEANS — Brijanee Moore and Diamond Jolly led top-seeded and 10th-ranked Talladega to a 70-44 women’s basketball victory Saturday against Xavier University of Louisiana in the semifinals of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament.

The Lady Tornadoes (28-4) will play third-seeded Philander Smith (25-7) for the championship at 2 p.m. Sunday at XULA’s Convocation Center. That winner receive the GCAC’s automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship tournament, which will begin March 18 in Billings, Mont.

Moore had 17 points, six assists and six steals in 29 minutes, and Jolly had 14 points and 20 rebounds. It was Jolly’s fourth 20-rebound game in two seasons at Talladega.

Essence Wells scored 11 points and Shaelynn Moore 10 for the Gold Nuggets (16-15), who were seeded fifth.

Talladega led 35-26 at halftime, then outscored XULA 35-18 in the second half. Talladega outshot XULA 36.2 to 29.1 percent from the floor, outrebounded the Gold Nuggets by seven and was plus-11 in turnovers.

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