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Balance Attack, Defense Leads Xavier to 74-67 Win

March 15, 2012
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FRANKFORT, Ky. – (Box Score) Xavier (La.) used a 15-5 run out of the locker room to propel the Gold Nuggets to a 74-67 win over Southern Nazarene (Okla.) on Thursday night in the first round of the 2012 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship presented by Kentuckytourism.com at the Frankfort Convention Center.

The win sends Xavier (26-8) into Friday’s second round where they will face Union (Tenn.) at 9:45 p.m. EST. Union beat Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 63-50 earlier in the night.

Trailing 39-35 at start of the second half, six different Xavier players scored during the critical run to turn the deficit into a 50-44 lead with just under 13 minutes left in the game. The Gold Nuggets extended their lead to as many as nine points on two separate occasions and looked to be in complete control of the game.

Southern Nazarene (24-10) responded with a 14-6 run of its own to trim the Golden Nugget lead to 62-61 with five minutes remaining. Logan Martin led the way for the Crimson Storm as she scored eight points during the run -- all coming from the free throw line. She along with teammate Oumoul Thiam finished with team-high honors with 14 points.

But Southern Nazarene could not get over the hump over the last five minutes, thanks in large part to Xavier’s defensive effort. The Golden Nuggets forced Southern Nazarene into four turnovers in their last seven possessions. The Crimson Storm finished the game with 25 miscues, including 14 in the second half.

Xavier turned the Southern Nazarene late turnovers into seven points to put the game out of reach en route to its eighth straight win.

In the first half, Southern Nazarene led all but the opening basket of the game.

After Xavier’s Carmen Holcombe scored the game’s first points, The Crimson Storm scored the game’s next eight and eventually led by as many as 10 in the opening half.

Xavier fought back to tie the game at 31-31before Southern Nazarene closed the half with an 8-4 run to lead 39-35 at the break.

Ten difference Golden Nuggets scored in the game led by SiMon Franklin’s 16 points. Brandi Young added 11 in the win.

Sharmeda Johnson (13 points) and Abbey Marra (10) joined Martin and Thiam in double figures.
NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship Bracket Announcement