Philander Smith defeats Gold Nuggets 65-54

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NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana women’s basketball outscored Philander Smith in the second and fourth quarters. But Philander Smith was more dominant in the first and third quarters, and that’s why the Lady Panthers won 65-54 Monday.

Consider these contrasts:

• XULA outscored Philander Smith 42-22 and outshot the Lady Panthers 34.2 to 28.6 percent from the floor during the second and fourth quarters.
• But over the first and third quarters, Philander Smith outscored the Gold Nuggets 43-12 and outshot XULA 55.2 to 17.9 percent.

The bottom line: Philander Smith (20-4, 7-1) reached 20 victories for the first time in its nine Gulf Coast Athletic Conference seasons and remained a half-game behind co-leaders Talladega and Rust. XULA (11-11, 2-5), the GCAC regular-season champion a year ago, lost for the second time in three days at home and for the seventh time in its last nine games.

“No consistency,” XULA head coach Bo Browder said. “Nothing at all. We think we’re cleaning up one area of our game, and then something else happens. We had been struggling really bad on defense. We cleaned that up, and now we can’t make a shot.”

XULA shot worse than 30 percent from the floor for the second consecutive game — the first time since October 2017 that the Gold Nuggets were under 30 in back-to-back contests. The Lady Panthers outshot them 42.1 to 27.3 percent.
Philander Smith scored 19 consecutive points to take a 28-4 lead early in the second quarter. XULA got as close as nine points late in the first half and trailed 34-24 at halftime — but the Lady Panthers maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half.

Shaelynn Moore led XULA with 17 points and made five 3-pointers. She’s 22-of-44 behind the arc in the last five games. The 22 made 3s are the best five-game stretch of her stellar career, which began at city, HBCU and GCAC rival Dillard. This is Moore’s only season at XULA.

Kyla Duncan had 14 points and 10 rebounds for XULA — her third double-double of the season — and Abryhia Irons had 11 points, her most in a game since the week before Thanksgiving. Moore, Irons and Da’Jha Virgil grabbed six rebounds apiece and teamed with Duncan to help win the boards 46-38.

Terralyn Dominick led Philander Smith with 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals and raised her four-year point total to 1,722. Ciara Pettis had 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Rakia Lane scored 14.

XULA finished 1-3 in this home stand. The Gold Nuggets will play GCAC rival Tougaloo at 3 p.m. Saturday in Tougaloo, Miss. on the outskirts of Jackson.

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