Women’s team reaches postseason

By: Brent Raines ~Staff Writer~

The Xavier women’s basketball team earned a trip to the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI), after second-seed DePaul knocked them out of the Big East Tournament.

The Musketeers enter the WBI tournament with a 17-14 record(9-9 Big East) in head coach Brian Neal’s second season.

They were the seventh-seed in the Big East Tournament, where they beat tenth-seed Georgetown (4-27, 2-16) before falling to DePaul (26-7, 15-3) in the quarterfinals.

The 70-67 victory over the Hoyas was a minor milestone forthe program, which had not won a conference tournament game since 2011.

Freshman Anniina Äijänen looks for a teammate.

There wasn’t a strong prediction of Xavier winning against the Blue Demons, who were playing at home. DePaul held a 25-point lead at the half on its way to a second straight Big East tournament title.

Junior forward Briana Glover led the Muskies in scoring this season, averaging 10.7 points per game. Redshirt sophomore guard Raeshaun Gaffney was the only other player to average double digits at 10.3 points per game.

This is the sixth annual WBI, considered to be the third best post-season tournament after the NCAA Women’s Tournament and the WNIT. It consists of a 16-team field, and each game is played at the home court of the higher seed in the matchup. The University of Illinois- Chicago won the tournament last season.

Second-seed Xavier will host the seventh-seed William and Mary at 7 p.m. March 19 at Cintas Center. Should the Musketeers advance, they would host the winner of third-seed Siena and sixth-seed Stony Brook on March 21 or 22 with a spot in the semi-finals on the line.

The only potential road game that Xavier could play before the finals would be just across the river at Northern Kentucky, who is the top-seed in Xavier’s half of the bracket.