NEW ORLEANS — Kelsee Singleton, a career 17-percent shooter from 3-point range for Xavier University of Louisiana prior to Saturday, beat those odds and Dillard with one memorable shot.
The fifth-year senior center swished a trey at the buzzer to give the Gold Nuggets a 68-66 women’s basketball victory against the Lady Bleu Devils in the Crosstown Classic at XULA’s Convocation Center.
On an inbounds play that started on the XULA baseline with 2.4 seconds remaining, Mikayla Bates passed to Singleton, who beat the clock with her second 3-pointer of the game — her fifth of the season — and her first winning shot for XULA (13-7, 4-1 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference).
“I was wide open on the wing and called for it,” Singleton said, “and I just felt really confident when it left my hand.”
Bates’ assist was her career-high seventh of the game.
Singleton’s basket was one of two 3-pointers in the closing moments. With 8.2 seconds remaining, Alyssa Washington swished a three from the top of the key to give Dillard (12-6, 4-2) a 66-65 lead.
On Xavier’s final possession, Adriiana Jackson nearly clinched a victory for Dillard with a back-tip as XULA guard Brittany Jackson frantically dribbled up court. But the loose ball rolled out of bounds in the corner next to the XULA bench, and the referees ruled that Dillard last touched the ball. One more opportunity awaited the Gold Nuggets.
“Dillard left Kelsee open for two seconds, and that’s all she needed,” XULA coach Bo Browder said. “I was happy to see Kelsee knock down that shot. She’s a first-class young lady, a hard worker, and she’s a senior. Seniors are supposed to make those kinds of plays for you.”
XULA, winning for the seventh time in eight games and the seventh straight time at home, also got career highs of 17 points from Ireyon Keith and 13 from Jalyn Hodge. Jayla Nichols and Maya Trench scored eight points apiece, with Nichols grabbing a team-best eight rebounds and Trench producing a game-high four steals to become the first XULA freshman in eight seasons to reach 50.
Jackson scored a season-high 22 points for Dillard — she was 7-of-8 from the floor — Keona Favis and Shaelynn Moore scored 11 apiece, and Washington had nine points and nine rebounds. Moore and Washington entered averaging a combined 31.7 points per game, and Browder said he was proud of his defense for holding those two below their averages.
“It wasn’t our best game,” Browder said, “but it showed that we had played a lot of tough games this year. We weren’t giving in.”
XULA replaced Dillard as the GCAC’s second-place team. If the Gold Nuggets can win Monday at Talladega, they’ll ascend to first place by a half-game over the Lady Tornadoes.