No. 7 Xavier 77, Fordham 55

A lopsided win left No. 7 Xavier with work to do.

Amber Harris scored 18 points and the Musketeers never trailed

in a 77-55 win over Fordham on Saturday that kept them unbeaten in

the Atlantic 10 but less than pleased with their performance.

Xavier (21-2, 10-0) got ahead by 14 points in the first half,

then eased up and let Fordham (10-16, 2-8) cut the lead to three

late in the half. The Musketeers pulled out to a 32-21 lead at

halftime, then put it away with an 18-0 run in the second half.

”We’ve just got to stop worrying about the scoreboard and what

team we’re playing,” Harris said. ”We just have to come out there

and play as close to 40 minutes as long as possible. We took some

possessions off today.”

Despite the defensive lapses in the first half, Xavier dominated

with its offensive balance. Tyeasha Moss had 13 points and center

Ta’Shia Phillips had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Reserve guard

Lynette Holmes had 11 in the second half.

The Musketeers turned their height advantage into a 46-34

advantage in rebounds. Those first-half lapses on defense stood out

the most.

”Coach is stressing being in the gaps and making sure we

contest on all shots, and I think that’s what we did,” Phillips

said. ”But there were a couple of other shots we kind of let get

loose, so were going to be working really hard on defense this

week.”

Coach Kevin McGuff wasn’t happy with the way his team eased up

once it got well ahead. The Musketeers are using the end of the

regular season to get ready for tournament time.

”When we get a big lead, sometimes we have a harder time

sustaining things,” McGuff said. ”And we have to get that back in

practice. This time of year, I think teams start to separate

themselves, and if we want to be one of those teams peaking in

March, we have to make sure we get better every single day.”

The Musketeers won their 25th straight A-10 regular season game.

Fordham dropped its sixth in a row despite 20 points from Arielle

Collins.

Leading scorer Becky Peters managed only four shots in the first

half and six points overall for Fordham. She came in averaging 13.1

points.