Rust beats the buzzer to defeat XULA 55-54

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NEW ORLEANS — India Green’s third-chance putback with 0.4 remaining on the clock gave Rust a 55-54 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference women’s basketball victory Tuesday against Xavier University of Louisiana.

Green’s basket gave the Lady Bearcats (6-0, 2-0) their first lead since the seventh minute and made them the first GCAC women’s team to win twice in conference play this season.

O.C. Mbakop Ngassam scored 14 points, a career high, and had eight rebounds, two blocks and a steal for XULA (3-3, 0-1). Nina German scored 13 points and had a season-high six assists and a career-best two blocks.

Shay Johnson led Rust in scoring for the second consecutive day, this time with 12 points. Green and Kyandra Lewis scored 10 apiece. Katie Blackmon had nine points and game-highs of 14 rebounds and four blocks.

Rust led 12-5 in the fifth minute, but XULA then scored 11 consecutive points during the next four minutes to grab the momentum.

“We were awful from the foul line,” said XULA head coach Bo Browder of a season-worst 9-of-20 performance — 3-of-9 in the second half, “and we gave up too many second shots. Rust is a very good team, no doubt. We had a good team effort, but we don’t go for moral victories around here. We missed a chance to get a statement win.”

Rust entered averaging 82.8 points per game and had won 19-of-20 quarters this season. But XULA outscored the Lady Bearcats 21-14 in the first quarter and 13-12 in the third.

XULA will play host to Philander Smith at noon Wednesday on the third day of GCAC group play — five teams and seven games over four days. Rust will play Edward Waters, a 59-50 loser to Talladega, at 2:30 p.m.

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