Loyola rallies from 20 down to beat XULA in final minute

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NEW ORLEANS — City rival Loyola outscored Xavier University of Louisiana 5-0 in the final minute Tuesday to capture a 68-66 women’s basketball victory at XULA’s Convocation Center.

The Wolf Pack (4-1), ranked 22nd in the NAIA, trailed 31-11 in the 14th minute, but climbed back into a contention with a 24-2 run. Loyola won for the 31st time in its last 36 games and snapped the eight-game home winning streak of the Gold Nuggets (4-2).

XULA led 66-63 after Nia Bishop’s 3-point play with 1:10 remaining, but Loyola scored on three consecutive final-minute possessions and took the lead for good, 67-66, on Sandra Cannady’s basket with 17 seconds remaining.

Bishop missed a 3-pointer on the final possession.

Tay Cannon had 17 points, 12 points and three blocks for Loyola. Four teammates also scored in double figures. Cannady scored 12, Sydni Tangle had 11, and Taylor Thomas and Jazmene McMillan scored 10 apiece.

Bishop scored 20 points, Abryhia Irons 12 and Destinee Pointer 11, including 3-of-4 3-pointers, for XULA. Bishop had five steals, Victory Udechi grabbed 10 rebounds, and Da’Jha Virgil had eight assists.

Pointer’s basket at 6:52 of the second quarter gave XULA a 31-11 lead, but a pair of 3-pointers apiece by Tangle and Thomas helped the Wolf Pack rally. Loyola took its first lead, 35-33, on McMillan’s basket at 6:47 of the third quarter and led 50-48 by the end of that period.

Both teams shot 43 percent from the floor and made six 3-pointers. Loyola made 14-of-28 free throws to XULA’s 8-of-9.

XULA leads the series 32-11, but the teams split the 20 most recent games. The last three meetings were decided by a combined five points. Loyola, which was 0-15 against the Gold Nuggets in XULA’s previous venue, The Barn, is 3-2 against XULA in the Convocation Center. The visiting team won five of the last eight meetings.

XULA will travel to Texas for the Dallas HBCU Invitational and play at 3 p.m. Friday against Philander Smith and 1 p.m. Saturday against Arkansas Baptist. Paul Quinn College’s Tiger Gym will be the venue.

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