Gotcha! Xavier’s Gacevic hits 3 at the buzzer to beat No. 17 Loyola

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NEW ORLEANS — Sophomore guard Anica Gacevic got the roll on a 3-pointer on the final possession Saturday to give Xavier University of Louisiana a 79-78 women’s basketball victory against city rival Loyola at The Den.

The Gold Nuggets (9-4) won their third straight. They’ll play Mobile at 3 p.m. Tuesday at home at the Convocation Center in their final game before Christmas. Loyola, ranked 17th in NAIA Division I, is 7-2.

Essence Wells passed to Gacevic on an inbounds play for the winning shot. Gacevic’s shot hit the rim, bounced up, then fell through the basket to complete a XULA rally from a 14-point deficit.

“Assistant coach Tarniesha Scott made a great suggestion during the timeout before the shot,” XULA head coach Bo Browder said. “She told Anica to sprint to the corner. She was open when Loyola overplayed our other 3-point shooter, Shaelynn Moore.

“Our first option was to get a backdoor lob for a 2, but Anica was open. Essence did a great job finding her in a hurry.”

Another sophomore, Da’Jha Virgil, scored a career 20 points for XULA. Kaila Anthony scored 26 for the Wolf Pack.

The Gold Nuggets won at The Den for the first time in six years.

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