Nuggets rally to beat SUNO on road for 1st conference victory

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NEW ORLEANS — Shaelynn Moore made six of Xavier University of Louisiana’s school-record-tying 12 3-pointers Monday, and the Gold Nuggets rallied in the second half for an 86-76 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference women’s basketball victory against SUNO at The Castle.

The Gold Nuggets (10-8, 1-2) rallied from a 42-37 halftime deficit — they trailed by 12 late in the second quarter — and snapped a four-game losing streak.

It was the third time the Gold Nuggets made 12 3s in a game. They made six treys during the third quarter, two apiece by Moore and Caprice Taylor.

Moore’s final 3-pointer put XULA ahead to stay at 72-69 with 5:54 remaining. It was the third time Moore made six 3s in a game as a collegian. As a Dillard junior in 2017-18, she made seven at home against Our Lady of the Lake and six at Tougaloo. This is Moore’s only season at XULA.

Moore was XULA’s only double-figure scorer. Gina Smith and Essence Wells scored nine points apiece, Kira Mercado — who starred for SUNO last season — had eight, and Mackenzie Davis and Da’Jha Virgil scored seven apiece.

Virgil, a sophomore, produced a career-high eight assists — the most in a game by a Gold Nugget this season — and zero turnovers in 29 1/2 minutes.

SUNO (3-11, 0-4) used seven players, and five scored in double figures. Sha’Quanta Pettis scored 19 points, and NeTanya Wilkerson had 15.

XULA scored its most points in a game this season and its most against SUNO since a 93-72 victory at The Barn on Jan. 16, 2003. Last season the Gold Nuggets averaged 52.7 points in beating SUNO 2-of-3 times.

SUNO outshot XULA 47.5 to 38 percent from the floor. But the Lady Knights cooled off after shooting 58.3 percent (14-of-24) in the first 17 minutes to build a 38-26 lead. The Gold Nuggets were plus-6 in rebounds and plus-8 in turnovers.

XULA defeated SUNO — its longtime city, HBCU and conference rival — for the ninth time in the last 10 meetings. The Gold Nuggets lead the series 71-14.

XULA will play NAIA No. 11 Talladega in a GCAC game at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Convocation Center. It will be the Gold Nuggets’ first home game since Dec. 17.

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