No. 7 Xavier 70, Dayton 66
Amber Harris was determined to finally make something happen, even though she wished she hadn't waited for overtime.
Harris caught the ball at the foul line, took one dribble and scored over three Dayton players while getting fouled with 55 seconds left in the extra session on Saturday. She made the free throw and No. 7 Xavier held on for a 70-66 victory over Dayton.
''I should have attacked from the beginning, but I just tried to make an aggressive move,'' said Harris, who scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half. ''I'm going to get it back and start being more aggressive.''
Harris' aggressiveness gave Xavier (19-2, 8-0 Atlantic 10) a 67-64 lead. She added two free throws with 13 seconds left for the final margin.
''In a game like this,'' coach Kevin McGuff said, ''you've got to trust that your players can make plays.''
Dayton coach Jim Jabir accepted the blame for allowing Xavier's best player to get open at the foul line against the Flyers' zone defense. He said he knew that Xavier might run that play to Harris, and regretted not taking a timeout to make sure there would be a double team sooner to prevent Harris from going aggressively to the basket.
''That's on me,'' Jabir said. ''She hurt us like that three times. That's my issue, and if we get a chance to play them again we'll learn from it.''
Even though Xavier has beaten Dayton (15-8, 6-3) four straight times, it is a developing rivalry in the Atlantic 10. Xavier needed overtime to win at Dayton last year by a point and won at home earlier this season by four.
''It's just the atmosphere,'' said Xavier point guard Special Jennings. ''They're at home, and they always get a good tempo here.''
Xavier threatened to open a big lead with a 15-9 run to open the second half. But Dayton rallied from a 38-29 deficit behind Justine Raterman's nine points to trail 42-40 with 8:59 to play.
Dayton stayed close the rest of regulation, and point guard Patrice Lalor - who scored 14 points - made a foul-line jumper and a 3-pointer with 1:11 left in regulation to put Dayton ahead 60-57. Xavier's Katie Rutan answered with a 3 with 20 seconds left to tie the score at 60.
Dayton held for the last shot, but Raterman's 3-pointer was off the rim. She finished with 25 points.
''They made some big shots today,'' McGuff said, ''and it took everything we had to get out of here with a win.''