NEW ORLEANS — What did the Xavier University of Louisiana women’s basketball team gain as a result of its 79-67 victory Monday at SUNO?
An early-morning practice the following day.
“That’s all about having a young team and working on staying focused,” 18th-year coach Bo Browder said. “We probably gave away eight games this year that we should have won. We made a lot of mistakes early in the season, had trouble closing games out. If we can close out these upcoming games, I like our chances.”
Closing against SUNO was not a problem for the Gold Nuggets (15-10, 5-4 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference), who led the final 36 minutes, built a 22-point lead late in the third quarter, then withstood a SUNO rally which trimmed the margin to nine points.
Maya Trench, XULA’s 5-foot-2 freshman point guard, led the Nuggets with 13 points. She had five steals, one more than SUNO’s team. Her seven assists were her most in a game in nearly two months.
“I’m the smallest player on the court,” Trench said, “so I have to work the hardest. I can’t take any plays off.”
Also contributing for XULA were Jayla Nichols with 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists, Kelsee Singleton with nine points, five rebounds and three blocks, and Bianca Brown, Ireyon Keith and Kelsey Joseph with eight points apiece. Joseph, a sparingly used senior guard, was 4-of-4 on 2-pointers and scored her most points since Nov. 5.
XULA scored its most points in a game this season, and its eight blocks were a season high.
Micah Brooks had 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Lady Knights (3-14, 1-8), and Tyra Gibson scored 12 points.
The Gold Nuggets have two more games this week. At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday they’ll play host to a 15-3 Stillman team that won its last 14 games. Then at 2 p.m. Saturday they’ll visit city rival Dillard for a rematch of a Jan. 28 game that XULA won on Singleton’s trey at the buzzer. Dillard, the GCAC’s second-place team and a game-and-a-half ahead of XULA, is 9-1 at home and the only GCAC team to beat conference leader Talladega this season.