Gold Nuggets rout SUNO for third consecutive victory

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NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana pulled away from SUNO in the first half and cruised Monday to an 84-54 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference women’s basketball victory against its city rival at XULA’s Convocation Center.

The Gold Nuggets (14-11, 5-5) have a three-game win streak, with all those victories decided by double digits. Last year’s XULA team, a GCAC regular-season champion, never won three straight in the league by double digits.

“It shows what this team is capable of when we focus and play smart and unselfishly,” 21st-year head coach Bo Browder said. “It’s good to be playing better as we get close to the end of the season.”

Senior guard Maya Trench made 4-of-5 3-pointers and scored 15 points, both season highs. Nina German scored 12 points — her first game in double figures since Nov. 22 — and Abryhia Irons scored 10. Kyla Duncan scored eight points, and Shaelynn Moore, Da’Jha Virgil and Anica Gacevic scored seven apiece.

A 22-1 run turned a 13-10 SUNO lead into a 32-14 XULA advantage early in the second quarter. The Gold Nuggets led 45-29 at halftime and 64-45 through three quarters.

XULA has outscored opponents in each of its last 10 quarters.

Railyn Shelvin scored 14 points, and Sha’Quinta Pettis and NeTanya Wilkerson had 12 apiece for the Lady Knights (3-19, 0-12), who are winless this season on the road. SUNO has lost its last 25 GCAC regular-season games.

XULA produced a season-high 22 steals, five by Mackenzie Davis, four by Irons and three apiece by Trench and Gina Smith. XULA won the boards by two, with Smith grabbing seven rebounds and Trench six. The Gold Nuggets made 11 3s for the second consecutive game, including two apiece by German and Gacevic.

XULA will play its next three on the road, starting with a 3 p.m. game Saturday at GCAC leader and NAIA No. 10 Talladega.

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