COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Amber Harris scored 21 points to lead No.
5 Xavier to an 84-65 win over South Carolina in the season opener
for both teams Friday night.
Ta'Shia Phillips added 19 points and Tyeasha Moss had 17 for the
Musketeers, who looked sharp as they return four starters from last
year's 30-win team that went to the Elite Eight.
Xavier shot 55.7 percent from the field and made five of nine
La'Keisha Sutton led South Carolina with 19 points, while Ashley
Bruner had 17 points and 15 rebounds, both career highs for the
The Musketeers broke the game open with a 20-2 run that put them
ahead 31-12 with 7 minutes to go in the first half. Xavier missed
just two shots during the spurt.
The Musketeers made their first four 3-pointers and shot 55
percent in the first half to take a 45-29 lead at the break.
Xavier came out even stronger in the second half, hitting eight
of its first nine shots to go on a 17-5 run that put the Musketeers
up 62-34 with 14 minutes left.
Dawn Staley still has a rebuilding project at South Carolina.
The coach is 24-34 with the Gamecocks and is working with a team
that has no players taller than 6-foot-1 and struggles to shoot.
South Carolina shot just 24 for 65 (36.9 percent) in the opener.
The Gamecocks did show some second-half hustle, holding Xavier
scoreless for 4 minutes and knocking a 28-point deficit down to
62-44 about halfway through the half. But they couldn't get any
South Carolina outrebounded Xavier 40-35.
The Gamecocks haven't been to the NCAA tournament since 2003 and
haven't beaten a team in the top 5 in nearly 13 years.