Talladega beats Gold Nuggets to vault over XULA in GCAC standings

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Xavier University of Louisiana lost its lead in Gulf Coast Athletic Conference women’s basketball Saturday when Talladega defeated the Gold Nuggets 73-63.

The Gold Nuggets (17-6, 7-1) will stay on the road and play Edward Waters in a GCAC game at 5:30 p.m. EST Monday in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Lady Tornadoes (22-3, 8-1), ranked 13th in the NAIA, got 16 points from Jazmin Nelson and 13 apiece from Brijanee Moore and Kendra Williams to take sole possession of first place and snap XULA’s 14-game winning streak in GCAC regular-season games.

Essence Wells scored a career-high 21 points for XULA, but no teammate scored more than six. Mikayla Bates grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and had a season-high six assists.

XULA’s Jas Hill, the reigning GCAC Player of the Week, picked up two fouls in the first 80 seconds and scored a season-low four points before fouling out. The Gold Nuggets committed a season-worst 29 fouls, nine on offense.

Talladega built 14-point leads in both halves and led 36-27 at halftime. XULA got as close as 47-42 after Gina Smith’s basket at 1:40 of the third quarter and 50-44 on a Bates basket to start the fourth period, but the Gold Nuggets came no closer thereafter.

Both teams shot 36 percent from the floor. XULA committed a season-worst 29 turnovers, 21 in the first half. Talladega dominated at the line, making 26-of-32 free throws to the Gold Nuggets’ 14-of-18.

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