Gold Nuggets lead majority of game but NCAA Division I UNO grabs 63-58 victory
NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana women’s basketball led for 27 minutes Thursday before the University of New Orleans rallied for a 63-58 victory at UNO’s Lakefront Arena.
NAIA member XULA counted the game as an exhibition, but the Privateers of NCAA Division I did not and improved their season record to 1-2.
Nia Bishop scored 17 points — the most in an exhibition by a XULA woman since 2008 — and Da’Jha Virgil scored 14, including 8-of-8 free throws.
Jomyra Mathis scored 17 points, Kyla Davis 16 and Brianna Ellis 12 for UNO.
Two Rayna Ross free throws with 43 seconds remaining in the third quarter gave the Gold Nuggets their final lead, 41-40, but Mathis answered for the Privateers with a 3-pointer 17 seconds later. O.C. Mbakop Ngassam’s turnaround jumper for XULA tied the score at 43 with 9:02 remaining, but a Mathis layup at 7:20 put UNO ahead to stay.
It was still a one-possession game when Bishop’s layup with 2:07 remaining cut UNO’s lead to 59-56, but an Ellis layup at 1:33 made it 61-56.
XULA led for nearly 19 minutes of the first half, including 6-0 and 9-2, but a Tiana Gipson 3-pointer in the final minute — her only score of the game — gave UNO a 24-23 lead at the break.
XULA was nearly perfect with free throws, making 20-of-22 overall and all 12 third-quarter attempts.
It was the first of two XULA exhibitions this season against NCAA Division I. The Gold Nuggets will travel Dec. 1 to Louisiana-Lafayette for a 6 p.m. tip-off.
The Gold Nuggets — 4-1 in the regular season — will play another city rival, Loyola, at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at XULA’s Convocation Center. Loyola is ranked 22nd in the NAIA coaches poll.
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