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'
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
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
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
MTSU outrebounded the taller Musketeers in the first half,