By: Josh Bozzick ~Staff Writer~
Xavier won its season opener against Tennessee State on Saturday, beating the Lady Tigers 63-54. The victory extended the Musketeers’ streak of seasonopening wins to 17, which dates back to the first season at the Cintas Center.
The first quarter of the game ended in a 16-16 tie between the Musketeers and Lady Tigers, and Xavier went down four at one point during the second quarter. However, a 10-second backcourt violation against the Tigers changed the momentum, as Xavier went into the half with a three point lead at 33-30.
The third quarter saw the Musketeers pull away from the Lady Tigers’ grasp, as they increased their lead to 50-43 by the end of the quarter. Xavier went down 39-35 but quickly and forcefully responded with a 15-4 run that closed the quarter. Xavier extended its lead throughout the fourth and went up by 13 points with roughly two minutes remaining.
Junior guard Marquia Turner chipped in 15 points, including three three-pointers, and also contributed three assists. Redshirt senior guard Raeshuan Gaffney was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points, thanks to nabbing half of her points from the free-throw line. She shot an impressive 9/10 from the charity stripe. Gaffney’s performance did not go without praise, as she was named to the Big East weekly honor roll for her effort.
Senior forwards Maddison Blackwell and Leah Schaffer were impressive on the boards. Blackwell snatched nine boards, and Schaffer cleaned up 10. Redshirt sophomore forward Imani Partlow and junior guard Jada Byrd provided the scoring off the bench, combining for 11 points.
Next up for Xavier is the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks, whom they will play at home on Nov. 18.