When sports records are set, there is usually a lot of glad-handing and back slapping. For Xavier of Louisiana head women's basketball coach Bo Browder, it was more brow wiping than back slaps and handshakes.
Browder set the Louisiana state college record for most consecutive 20-win seasons as the Gold Nuggets edged a surprisingly tough Philander Smith, 61-53, in Little Rock Friday.
It was the twelfth consecutive season for Browder's Gold Nuggets to hit 20 wins, snapping a tie with Leon Barmore and Fred Hobdy.
College basketball hall-of-famer Barmore guided the Louisiana Tech women to 11 20-win seasons from 1991-2002, while Hobdy led the Grambling State men to 11 straight 20-victory seasons from 1956-1967.
"That's pretty amazing to break that record," Browder said. "We were just blessed and fortunate to get out of here with a win."
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Fortunate was the word as Xavier did not pull away for the win until the final three minutes against Philander Smith (11-15, 1-9), which owns the worst record in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference.
SiMon Franklin led Xavier (20-4, 8-2 GCAC) with 22 points, but committed eight of the Gold Nuggets' 28 turnovers.
Jerricka Scott made four straight free throws to put the Lady Panthers within a trey of tying the game, 54-51, with 3:23 remaining in the game. Two of the four free throws came courtesy of technical fouls against the Gold Nuggets.
However, Scott turned the ball over on Philander Smith's next possession -- one of 29 the Lady Panthers committed. XULA's Danielle Tucker fed Franklin for an easy bucket and a 56-51 lead.
Philander Smith would not score again until the final 39 seconds.
Two free throws by Franklin and one by Talor Hixon sealed the win and helped Browder make history.
Scott paced the Lady Panthers with 20 points, with all but two of them coming from the free throw line. Kanesha Merritt added 16 points in the loss.
Xavier next plays Monday night at 5:30 p.m. in Nashville against Fisk.
Notes: This is the 13th time in Browder's 14 seasons as head coach of XULA that the Gold Nuggets have notched 20 wins. Overall, the Xavier women have won 20 games in a season 20 of the last 21 seasons.