Musketeers battle Bluejays in close game at home

Newswire photo by Desmond Fischer | Freshman guard Lauren Wasylson scored in double figures and was the Musketeers’ second-leading scorer with 11 points against Creighton at Cintas Center last Sunday. Xavier fell 53-52 in a tightly contested game.

Last weekend, the women’s basketball team continued its season with two Big East home games, taking on Providence on Friday night before playing host to Creighton Sunday afternoon.

Despite a bit of a second half comeback, the Musketeers fell to Providence 63-55 before dropping a 53-52 heartbreaker against Creighton.

Providence started off the game on an 8-0 run and jumped out to a 25-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. A 9-4 Xavier run to start the second quarter cut the Friars’ lead to 29-18. Providence followed that up with an 11-4 run of its own before Xavier tacked on four points at the end of the quarter to make the score 40-26 at the half.

Sophomore forward A’riana Gray led Xavier in the first half with 15 points and five rebounds on her way to her 13th double-double of the season. She finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Xavier cut into the Providence lead to begin the third quarter, trailing by as little as eight before Providence answered with an 8-2 run to extend its lead to 51-37. Xavier continued its comeback attempt in the fourth quarter, getting within five points with 41 seconds left in regulation.

That was the last basket Xavier would score, as Providence hit three free throws and walked away with an eight-point victory. For the Musketeers, sophomore guard Aaliyah Dunham (10 points) and freshman Carrie Gross (12 points) both notched double figures along with Gray.

Xavier played much better in the first half against Creighton, leading 12-11 after the first quarter and 27-22 at the half. Sophomore forward Deja Ross had eight points and five rebounds at the half.

The Musketeers started the second half on a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 10 points. They led by as many as 14 in the third quarter, but a 7-3 run by the Bluejays to end the frame cut their deficit to 10 at the end of the third.

Xavier struggled from the field to begin the fourth, going 0 for 6 as Creighton cut its deficit to six, en route to outscoring the Musketeers 22-11 in the quarter. Creighton took the lead on a three-point play with 3:24 left in regulation, but a 7-2 Xavier run gave it just a four-point cushion with 1:37 to play.

Creighton’s Olivia Elger took over from there, scoring five unanswered points — including a jumper with 30 seconds left that was the last basket of the game. This completed the Bluejays’ comeback and gave Creighton a 53-52 lead.

Xavier had an opportunity to win the game in its last possession, but a block by Creighton freshman Rachel Saunders secured the Creighton victory.

Ross and freshman guard Lauren Waslyson were both in double figures for Xavier with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Gray pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds.

With the losses, Xavier drops to 11-14. The Musketeers return to action Friday on the road against DePaul.

By: Joe Clark | Staff Writer