By: Adam Tortelli ~Staff Writer~
The Xavier women’s basketball team had a full schedule when traveling along the east coast this past weekend.
The Musketeers returned to Cincinnati this weekend after splitting two games against conference opponents, beating Georgetown and losing to Villanova.
On Feb. 13, the team took down the struggling Georgetown Hoyas in the nation’s capital by a score of 60-55.
Sophomore guard Raeshaun Gaffney led the team with 12 points in conjunction with double digit scoring from juniors guard Jenna Crittendon and forward Brianna Glover.
Senior point guard Maleeka Kynard led the team with four assists and four steals while also dropping nine points before the final buzzer sounded.
After a back-and-forth start, Georgetown pulled out to an 11 point lead with just over five minutes left to play in the first half.
Xavier then desperately answered with a run of its own to tie the game at 25.
A layup by the Hoyas and successful free throws from each team then sent the game into halftime with the Musketeers trailing by two.
Nearly halfway through the second half, Xavier jumped out to a nine-point advantage behind hot second-half shooting from junior guard Aliyah Zantt.
This lead would soon dissipate until the Musketeers started a 7-0 run with just over three minutes left in regulation.
Georgetown’s ninth loss in a row only buried the team farther into the bottom of conference standings.
Following a full day of rest on Valentine’s Day, women’s basketball jumped back into action on Feb. 15 for a matinee game against the Villanova Wildcats.
Head coach Brian Neal could not keep the fire going with his team, as the team suffered a troubling 64-48 loss at the Pavilion in the city of brotherly love.
The Wildcats came out firing, connecting on more than 60 percent of their first slew of shots.
They quickly pounced ahead to lead by double digits less than midway through the first half of play.
Xavier tried to cut away at the deficit, getting as close as seven down, but the Wildcats had a win in their grasp and refused to release it from their claws.
To no avail, the Musketeers turned it up a notch and outscored their opponents in the second half in hope of encountering the brink of some miraculous comeback.
Among the few things to carry over from the Georgetown victory, Zantt, whose scoring never seized from her second-half outburst just two days prior, led the team with 13 points.
Other statistical leaders included sophomore forward Leah Schafer and Gaffney with six rebounds each.
The team is now 15-11 on the season and 7-8 in conference play.
Xavier sits in seventh place in the Big East as it continues fighting for conference position with the regular season nearing a close.
The Musketeers get back to the grind after a full week off on Feb. 22 to face the Butler Bulldogs.