For many Xavier University of Louisiana graduating seniors, the last year is marked with milestones, particularly graduation. For Gold Nuggets basketball standout Whitney Gathright, her senior year includes a milestone few athletes reach: a place in the Xavier sports record book.
Gathright scored her 1,000 point on Nov.14, 2015 against Our Lady of the Lake in the LSU-Shreveport basketball classic. Not only did she make Xavier history, but she scored a career-high 33 points in the Nuggets’ 91-56 overtime victory, including 16 in the game’s final minutes of regulation play. That victory is considered the largest come-from-behind win in Nuggets’ history. “Stepping up in big moments isn’t anything new for me,” said the 5’4 senior guard. Back when the New Orleans native was a member of the John Curtis Christian School girls’ team, she and her teammates had to find a way to become state champions.
“I didn’t do it by myself. It was a team effort and I played with some great girls,” she recalled. “We knew how to help each other when we needed to.”
Gathright’s passion for the game began when she was 5 years old. “My father and brother didn’t want me to play the game,” she said. “My father wanted me to become a cheerleader.” She would see him getting dressed to go play pick-up games at the gym, and she couldn’t resist the temptation of playing the game. Influenced by her father and brother, Gathright said she started to sharpen her skills dribbling a basketball.
“As a kid, I didn’t watch women’s basketball; I always watched the men’s game.My favorite player is LeBron James,” she said. She loves James because of the way he attacks the basket and his defensive presence.
Like James, her game has elevated tremendously, As a child, Gathright said she knew basketball would take her places. What she didn’t know was she would become one of the greatest players in Xavier’s history. Nuggets head coach Robert “Bo” Browder believes this season’s team is destined for greatness. During a recent practice, he had the players focused on defense and creating turnovers.
“Coach Browder has a big emphasis on team defense.Scoring is fine, but defense wins championships,” Gathright said. “The difference between this year’s team and last year’s team is everyone is a year older and everyone is holding each other accountable to do their part.“Coach Bo is a great coach, but most of all he is a great teacher. He yells at us, but it’s because he only wants the bestfor us.He’s like a dad to most of us; he wants us to succeed.” With six retuning experienced players and a promising group of freshmen, the Gold Nuggets basketball team is poised and ready to make a run in GCAC Conference play—with Whitney Gathright at the helm.
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