No. 11 Xavier wins to begin season

By Ben Lambert

The Xavier women’s basketball team is ranked No. 11 in the country in the 2009-10 Associated Press Preseason Poll.

This is the highest that the Musketeers have ever been ranked, eclipsing their No. 12 mark in the 2000-01 season. Last year, Xavier went 25-7 overall and won the regular season title with a 13-1 mark in the Atlantic 10. The Musketeers will welcome back junior forward Amber Harris, who missed the entirety of last season due to injury.

Xavier also still has the 2008-09 A-10 Player of the Year in Ta’Shia Phillips, who led the team with 13.9 points per game and 12.1 rebounds. She also set back-to-back single season rebounding records over the last two years. Phillips is the sixth player in history to lead the league in rebounding for two years in a row.

Both Harris and Phillips were named to the A-10 Preseason First Team and the Preseason Defensive team this year.

Xavier began its season by defeating Southern California, 81-71, in overtime this weekend. Philips posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards, while Harris added 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Flyers upset Spartans in home opener

Dayton knocked off No. 10 Michigan State, 77-74, in their 2009-10 home opener on Friday. Senior Kendel Ross scored 14 points to lead the Flyers to their upset victory, including four free throws in the final 15.8 seconds. Kristen Daughtery added 17 points, while Justine Raterman contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Spartans helped Dayton by committing 29 personal fouls in the game, but the Flyers could only convert 17 of 33 foul shots.

The victory was Dayton’s first ever against a top 10 team. It is the second time that head coach Jim Jabir has spurred the Flyers to victory over a nationally ranked opponent. Last year, Dayton beat No. 16 Xavier in the A-10 semifinals.

Courtney Schiffauer added 21 points in a losing effort for the Spartans. Michigan State had won their last 10 season openers prior to the weekend.

Dukes use three ball to top Niagra

Duquesne led from start to finish and set a school record by shooting 80 percent from beyond the arc on their way to a 100-69 victory over Niagara on Sunday. Alex Gensler led the Dukes with 20 points while Rachel Frederick, Samantha Pollino and Kelly Britcher each added 14.

Duquesne scored 58 points in the second half of the game, the most it has scored in a half since 1990. The Dukes shot 61 percent from the field in the half, as well as 12-for-12 from the free throw line.

The previous Duquesne record for three point percentage was 75 percent when it shot 9-for-12 against James Madison on November 27, 2002.

The Dukes also held the Purple Eagles without a field goal until the 14 minute, 42 second mark in the first half.

Rachel Folion led Niagara with 14 points in defeat, while Liz Flooks added 13.

Ben Lambert can be reached at [email protected]