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Xavier Women Stay Perfect

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) - Megan Askew scored a career-high 17

points and No. 4 Xavier held off Middle Tennessee State 65-52 on

Thursday night to extend the best start in school history.

Special Jennings added 14 points for the Musketeers (9-0), who

have their highest ranking ever for the second straight week.

Ty'Shia Phillips picked up her third foul before halftime but still

finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Tyeasha Moss and Amber Harris each scored 10 for Xavier.

MTSU freshman Ebony Rowe led the Blue Raiders (6-3) with 13

points, and Jordyn Luffman scored 10.

Phillips, with only three first-half points, scored four of

Xavier's six straight points out of the gate in the second half to

give the Musketeers their first double-digit lead, 32-21.

Xavier went on an 11-2 run, with two baskets from Phillips, to

stretch its advantage to 51-32 with 8:33 to play on Lynette Holmes'

baseline jumper.

MTSU, which was 1 of 15 on 3-pointers in the first half, nailed

four 3s between 8:10 and 3:26 to cut it to 60-52. Annie Marie

Lanning hit two from long range.

But Jennings' three-point play pushed it back to double digits

with 3:09 left, and Harris hit a turnaround shot inside for the

final margin.

Askew was 6 of 8 from the field, made her only 3-point attempt

and went 4 for 4 at the foul line. She sank a 3 with 4:49 left,

then had a steal and two free throws at 4:39 for a 58-44 lead.

MTSU got both of Xavier's frontcourt All-American seniors, the

6-foot-6 Phillips and 6-5 Harris, into foul trouble before

halftime. The duo, averaging 35 points per game, combined for only

five first-half points.

Phillips picked up her third foul 2:26 before intermission, just

after the Blue Raiders trimmed a nine-point deficit to 22-19 on

Tina Stewart's free throws.

Harris, averaging an Atlantic 10-best 21 points per game, hit

her first basket for a 26-21 Musketeers lead. But MTSU freshman

Keke Stewart took a charge for Harris' third foul 36.1 seconds

before halftime.

Askew, who had been averaging seven points a game, scored 10 in

the first half for the Musketeers. Her drives helped push Xavier

out to a 14-5 lead.

Moss and Jennings each hit a 3-pointer in the first 6½ minutes

as the Musketeers opened 2 of 3 from behind the arc while MTSU went

0 for 9.

The Blue Raiders missed their first 13 attempts from 3-point

range, finally hitting on Tina Stewart's 3 off the glass to cut it

to 20-15.

MTSU outrebounded the taller Musketeers in the first half,



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