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Xavier women have a schedule full of vengeance

By Lauren Vaughan
On October 27, 2011

This year the Lady Musketeers will face a difficult schedule,

facing Stanford and Cincinnati at home, and Louisville at the

KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. In December they will face Syracuse, Ohio and Oklahoma in Las Vegas, and will continue Atlantic 10 play shortly after their return.

After losing to Louisville in Cintas Center and ending the

Musketeer's tournament dreams, the game at Louisville will be one of the tougher games they face this season.

Louisville, a Big East team, was 20-12 overall and 10-6

against Big East teams last year. Xavier was 28-2 overall and 14-0 in A-10 play, but faced a decidedly lighter schedule. The loss of Amber Harris, who led the team in points in 22 of 32 games last year, and Ta'Shia Phillips, who led the team in rebounds in 23 games, leaves the Musketeers with a gaping hole senior Tyeasha Moss

may be able to help fill. Her 10.4 ppg average is 2.4

points up from the year before and her career high 21 points

came February last year against Richmond. After holding on to a 40-37 lead at halftime, The Lady Musketeers found themselves tied up at 42 with 12 minutes remaining in the game. Xavier pulled ahead again to a 67-58 lead,

only to lose 85-75. Louisville sophomore Shoni Schimmel was more than instrumental for Louisville's success,

scoring 33 of the team's 85 points. The Cardinals, who lost in the second round to Vanderbilt in 2009 and did not make the tournament in 2010, were seeded seven but still upset the second-seeded Musketeers at home. The game against Louisville this year gives the Musketeers a chance for revenge, a chance to beat the Cardinals at home in

front of 22,000 fans. Stanford has again been chosen

as the number one ranked team in the PAC-12. The team was 29-2 last year and undefeated in PAC-12 play. In 2010, it was Stanford that beat Xavier in the tournament as the

buzzer sounded. They won 55-53 on a layup to move on to the Final Four and send the Musketeers back to Cincinnati.

This year, the Muskies get a chance to beat the team that took them out of the running for their first trip to the Final Four. Xavier also faces long time rival Cincinnati in Cintas Center. Last year, Cincinnati's team did not see the same amount of success as the Musketeers. Overall, their record was 9-20 and they were 2-14 against Big East teams.

This, in comparison to Xavier's 28-2 suggests the Musketeers may be able to defeat the Bearcats, especially

with the leg-up of playing in Cintas Center, widely considered an especially hostile environment for opposing teams. The Musketeers will face the Flyers, not once but twice, giving both teams a chance to play with home court advantage. Xavier will face Senior Justine Raterman, recently named to the Preseason Women ' s Wooden Award list. Raterman is the only player from the A-10

to make the list this year, and the first Dayton player in the

school's history. The six-footone player has led the Flyers in

scoring all three of her seasons with the team and is responsible for nearly 20 percent of the team's points.

That being said, the team was 21-11 overall and 9-5 in A-10

play last year. Based on that, the Musketeers should be able to hold their ground against the Flyers in Cintas Center and perhaps also defeat them on their homecourt.

While these tougher games might mean fewer wins on the

Xavier schedule, it means that Xavier's women's team is being taken seriously. Xavier has a shot against these high-caliber schools and to bring attention to Cintas Center and the Musketeers. While this year might be an uphill battle, facing schools from much larger conferences, this can only mean a brighter future for the Lady Muskies.

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