By: Ryan O’Toole ~Staff Writer~
During the holliday break, the Xavier women’s basketball team began Big East play and squared off against some tough opponents ultimately earning the team a 3-3 record in conference play.
The Musketeers started off red hot, winning their first three conference games; one on the road at Marquette and two at home against the Creighton Blue Jays and the Providence Friars.
In the matchup against the Marquette Golden Eagles, sophomore guard Raeshaun Gaffney paved the way for a Musketeer victory.
She scored 23 points and showed great leadership for an underclassman, willing her teammates to victory.
The Muskies shot over 50 percent from the field behind a perfect 6 for 6 night from Briana Glover.
The team followed with an exciting 66-65 victory over Creighton.
Senior guard Maleeka Kynard came through with a clutch game-winning layup with 1.7 seconds remaining.
The Musketeers showed resiliency by coming from behind and dominating the game on the boards, finishing the contest with a 41-35 rebounding advantage to lead to victory. A commanding 71-59 win over Providence on Jan. 4 moved the team’s record to 8-1 at home on the season. Defense was important again as the Muskies turned 12 steals into 23 points while shooting 81 percent (30-37) from the free throw line.
Briana Glover was key again, going a perfect seven-for-seven from the stripe.
The road, however, was not kind to the Musketeers. In two games against Seton Hall and DePaul, Xavier lost by a combined score of 162-115.
The Muskies looked lost on the court and overmatched from the beginning of both games.
Against Seton Hall, the Muskies hung around but were ultimately run out of the gym as Seton Hall won its 14th straight game at home.
Xavier only attempted nine free throws and let the Pirates control the glass.
Turnovers doomed the Musketeers against DePaul. They committed 29, with 18 of them coming in the first half, and the Blue Demons converted those turnovers into 29 points.
They finished with advantages in rebounding and second-chance opportunities, and DePaul went on to win 84-61.
Xavier was reminded in these past two games how hard it is to win on the road in the Big East.
Sitting at 3-3 in conference play, Xavier will look to keep up its home domination and steal some road games against tough opponents in the coming weeks to stay in the upper half of the standings.
The Musketeers host Georgetown at 7 p.m on Jan. 15.