No. 7 Xavier 72, George Washington 56

Two days after earning the highest ranking in school history,

No. 7 Xavier jumped out to a big first-half lead and cruised to an

easy win over George Washington.

That doesn’t mean the Musketeers were pleased with their

performance.

Xavier used a devastating combination of inside play and outside

perimeter shooting to open up a 24-point halftime lead and cruised

to a 72-56 win against the Colonials Wednesday.

The Musketeers were led by the inside combination of Amber

Harris, with 18 points and seven rebounds, and Ta’Shia Phillips who

had 16 points and 11 rebounds. When they weren’t getting points in

the post during the first-half run, Tyeasha Moss and Katie Rutan

were hitting shots from outside. Moss had 16 points and four

3-pointers, and Rutan had 10 points and made three 3s.

“Tonight we were good at times, but we were also a little

lackadaisical. I was a little disappointed with the second half,”

Xavier coach Kevin McGuff said. “I’m happy with the result but

certainly was hoping we could play a little bit better.”

It’s hard to see how the Musketeers (17-3, 7-0 Atlantic 10)

could do any better than they did while opening up the big

lead.

After falling behind 6-2 in the opening four minutes, Xavier

dominated the rest of the game. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Moss

started the Musketeers on a 25-4 run, pulling ahead 27-10 midway

through the first half. At halftime, the lead was 48-24 and Xavier

simply cruised the rest of the way.

The Musketeers have now won eight straight games and have tied

the second-best start to conference play in school history. Last

season Xavier won its first 12 conference games. The Musketeers won

for the second time in 13 tries at George Washington and the first

since 1998.

“When you’ve got to focus on their two bigs on the inside,

trying to come up with double-team schemes, ways to take them out

of their comfort zone, what it does is give those wings and guards

an extra second to really focus on the rim,” George Washington

coach Mike Bozeman said. “Right when you think you have them kind

of figured out, someone else steps up.”

Tiana Myers scored 18 points, Sara Mostafa had 12 and Shi-Heria

Shipp 10 for George Washington (5-16, 2-6).

Rutan’s three 3-pointers gave her 59 this season, one shy of the

freshman school record. Rutan’s night was cut short when she hit

the floor hard after battling for a rebound with 11:50 left in the

game. After staying down for a couple minutes, Rutan walked to the

bench and did not return. The team said she suffered a mild

concussion and is day-to-day.

Xavier took advantage of the Colonials’ lack of depth – the

Colonials were reduced to seven active players by a rash of

injuries – with full-court defensive pressure. The Musketeers’

intensity, though, noticeably dropped off in the second half.

“Sometimes it’s challenging when you know you have that kind of

a lead,” Phillips said. “You’ve been sitting for a while at

halftime, it takes some time to warm up, get back mentally into

it.”

McGuff said he’d like to see his team keep pushing after gaining

the lead in future games, and Harris said being unable to keep

George Washington down in the second half showed why.

“We should continue pushing the tempo for the game,” Harris

said. “When those teams are down, they have nothing to lose.

They’re going to keep pushing it, so we might as well push it back

at them.”