No. 5 Xavier 99, Troy 37
Ta'Shia Phillips had no idea that she was more than matching the competition, all by herself.
The 6-foot-6 center had a career-high 29 points and a season-high 18 rebounds on Friday, and fifth-ranked Xavier opened with a 24-0 run before beating Troy 99-37, its most lopsided win in 28 years.
Xavier (4-0) played without sophomore guard Katie Rutan, its top 3-point shooter. Rutan has a sore left ankle and sat on the bench in a protective boot.
Against Troy (1-5), it didn't matter. Phillips had an easy time against a lineup with one player taller than 6 feet. She scored 10 during the opening 24-0 run and had a double-double after only 15 minutes.
With eight minutes left in the game, Phillips had 29 points and 17 rebounds; Troy had 24 points and 17 rebounds.
''I don't really look at those kinds of things,'' Phillips said. ''I don't pay attention.''
That was coach Kevin McGuff's focus in Xavier's most lopsided win since an 84-7 victory over Northern Kentucky in the final game of the 1982-83 season.
''Coach McGuff is really hard on us about not looking at the scoreboard no matter what the score is,'' said point guard Special Jennings, who had eight assists and three steals. ''It's a matter of us working on the things we need to work on throughout the game instead of when we're beating a team, lax off and let them do what they want to do.''
Xavier had its way throughout. Sophie Kleeman scored 10 for Troy, which is 0-17 against ranked teams. Troy had never played a team ranked as high as No. 5. It was the Trojans' most lopsided loss in those 17 games.
Xavier came out determined to get its center involved in the offense. Phillips had a rough time during a 71-59 win over Louisville on Tuesday night, getting into foul trouble quickly. She fouled out after 20 minutes and managed only five points and six rebounds, both season lows.
She took a pass, turned and scored over 6-foot Tenia Manuel only 12 seconds into the game. She had 19 points and 10 rebounds in the first 15 minutes.
''Coach McGuff told us to stick to what we do,'' Phillips said. ''Our game has always been inside-out. That's exactly what we were looking for. We were a little short-handed today.''
Rutan landed awkwardly on the left ankle during the win over Louisville, but finished the game. McGuff decided to sit her against Troy to let it heal. She'll likely watch a game on Saturday against Delaware State from the bench.
''It's nothing long-term,'' McGuff said. ''We felt maybe give her a break this weekend. She might not play tomorrow - probably won't. It shouldn't be an issue next week.''
Troy quickly fell apart. The Trojans missed 11 shots and had six turnovers during the 24-0 run, including an air ball and a shot-clock violation. Xavier substituted during the run - it had two freshmen guards on the floor at one point - but the baskets still came easily. The Musketeers went 9 of 10 from the field during the run, with seven different players scoring.
DeAngela Sword got Troy's first basket, a baseline jumper at the 12:06 mark. Xavier pushed the lead to 56-13 by halftime.