By: Adam Tortelli
The Xavier women’s basketball team began the new season with a hard-fought 94-88 loss against the Ohio University Bobcats this past weekend.
In their first game under first-year head coach Brian Neal, the Musketeers put together a remarkable offensive performance, particularly for the first game of the year.
An 88-point outing on Nov. 10 in a hostile environment would normally make any coach ecstatic. However, Xavier fell short due to OU’s 94-point frenzy.
Sophomore guard Jenna Crittendon and senior guard Shatyra Hawkes set new career highs in points — 25 and 26, respectively — in the first game against the Bobcats.
In addition to her already impressive scoring output, Hawkes amassed five rebounds and two assists while Crittendon packed her stat line with nine rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Notable contributions also came from senior Ashley Wanniger, who put up 13 points and freshmen guard Kayla Davis and forward Leah Schafer added to the scoreboard in their college debuts.
A back and forth first half sent both teams into the locker rooms with the Muskies ahead by a slim three points (41-38).
Coming out on fire, the Bobcats took a commanding 70-56 lead within 10 minutes of the second half, only to be sent back onto their heels by an 8-0 Xavier run led by four of Wanniger’s thirteen to slice the Bobcat lead down to six.
Ohio’s lead continued to dwindle following Crittendon’s back-to-back-to-back 3-point field goals with only 42 seconds remaining. Ultimately the Bobcats came out on top behind freshman guard Kiyanna Black’s 35 points from a barrage of 3-pointers.
Unfortunately, the road ahead does not look any easier as the Musketeers travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. to take on a top-tier Wolverines squad tonight. Although the WOlverines didn’t reach the National Championship game like their male counterparts last year, the Michigan women’s basketball team is hungry and looking to build off of last year’s 22-11 record.