LSUA women's lose home opener to Xavier, 84-68

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On a night where the LSUA women’s basketball team hit a higher percentage of their shots against Xavier, it was a plus-15 margin in points off turnovers the Gold Nuggets enjoyed that proved pivotal as the Generals fell 84-68 Wednesday night at The Fort.

Xavier jumped on the Generals on the outset, scoring the game’s first seven points as Mikayla Bates’ three gave the Gold Nuggets the 7-0 lead just less than two minutes into the game.

But the Generals wouldn’t allow the Nuggets to get away that easily, scoring eight of the next ten points, culminating with Lillie Snowden grabbing a defensive rebound and finding Katie Lemieux sprinting down the floor for a lay-up to pull LSUA within 9-8 with six minutes to go in the first quarter.

After the two teams traded baskets, Xavier would go on an 11-2 run where Maya Trench would get into the paint and score to give the Gold Nuggets their first double digit lead at 22-12 with just less than 2:30 to go in the first period.

LSUA answered with eight of the next ten, getting that deficit down to 24-20 as Lemieux split a pair at the free throw line with 40 seconds to go before the end of the period. But a three-pointer by Trench just before the horn pushed the lead back up to seven with Xavier set to get the ball at the start of the second quarter.

Taylor Jones made the extra possession pay off for Xavier at the start of the quarter, hitting a three pointer to put the lead back at double-digits at 30-20. That was part of a larger 14-2 run which gave the Gold Nuggets their largest lead of the half after a Taylor Jacob lay-up made the score 38-22 with seven minutes to go before halftime.

But the Generals wouldn’t go away, hitting three straight three-pointers from Lemieux, Lillie Snowden, and Alexis Harris, respectively, to pull the deficit back down to single-digits at 41-33 with 4:30 left in the half. LSUA would trail by a dozen at the break, 49-37.

The third quarter was mostly back and forth with neither team able to get on an extended run. The Gold Nuggets would regain their 16 point lead early in the quarter off of another Trench three pointer, but LSUA quickly knocked that back down to 11 points thanks to a Marqueshia Thompson three and a pair of Shaundrea Rhymes free throws. After E’Layzha Bates split a pair at the free throw line with seven seconds left in the quarter, the Generals would ended it with the deficit down to single digits at 62-53.

With the Generals trying to stay within range as the fourth quarter ticked on, it was an 8-0 Xavier run midway through the period that all but doomed the Generals chances. With the Gold Nuggets leading 67-57, Essence Wells scored off a LSUA turnover to start the run that culminated with a DeDe Martinez score with just less than three minutes left that made it 75-57. LSUA would pull within ten points as Lillie Snowden stole the ball and finished the job herself with a lay-up to make the score 78-68 with less than a minute left, but it would be just a little late for the comeback as the Gold Nuggets closed out the game at the free throw stripe.

Lillie Snowden led the way for the Generals with 19 points as she made eight of the 11 shots she took in the contest, including three of five from beyond the three point arc. Katie Lemiuex finished the contest with 13 points, while Shelanita Starks rounded out the leading scorers with 11 points, to go along with a team-high seven rebounds. E’Layzha Bates also grabbed seven boards in the contest.

LSUA shot 45.0% in the contest, compared to 40.6% for the Gold Nuggets. Xavier (1-2) also found the charity stripe charitable, hitting 20 of their 28 attempts from the free throw line, contrasted to just eight of 14 for LSUA.

The Generals (0-1) start a new run of exhibition competitions against NCAA Division I foes on Sunday when LSUA heads to Ruston on Sunday to take on Louisiana Tech. Tip-off against the Lady Techsters is set for 2:00 P.M. at the Samuel M. Thomas Assembly Center.