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Mixed results for women's basketball

By kyle isaacs
On November 17, 2011

The women's basketball team defeated the Eastern Kentucky Colonels 66-61 on Saturday at Cintas Center. The game marked head coach Amy Waugh's first career win and was also the fourth consecutive season opening victory for the Musketeers.

Senior guard Tyeasha Moss scored 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, notching her second career double-double. Xavier and Eastern Kentucky changed leads five times throughout the game. With four minutes left, Moss drained her third three-pointer of the game to put the Musketeers up 55-53. "This is her team, and she is going to be the one to make those clutch shots for us," Waugh said of Moss.

Following that shot, the Colonels never got within three points of Xavier. The Musketeers outscored EKU 28-14 inside the free throw line. They also out-rebounded the Colonels 44-39, led by junior forward Amber Gray, who grabbed eight rebounds. The Musketeers were able to overcome a nine-point deficit in the first half by getting to the free throw line 31 times. While Xavier only scored 21 of their 31 free throws, sophomore guard Shatyra Hawkes was able to hit six of eight attempts. Five of those came in the closing minutes of the game to maintain the Xavier lead.

Waugh was impressed with the team's defensive performance. The Musketeers forced 12 turnovers and held the Colonels to 36 percent shooting.

However, there were moments when the young Xavier team struggled against EKU. "We just need to be more consistent on both ends of the floor. We will have some growing pains, but slowly we will continue to work in those areas," Waugh said.

On Monday night, the women traveled to Starkville, Miss. to face the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs. The Musketeers rallied from a 13-point deficit but fell short, losing 65-71. The opening weekend leaves the Musketeers at 1-1 on the season.The Musketeers pulled down 43 rebounds to the Lady Bulldogs' 37. Junior forward Jessica Pachko grabbed 11 rebounds en route to her first double-double this season to lead the women. Sophomore guard Shatyra Hawkes nearly amassed a double-double, scoring 14 points and collecting eight rebounds.

The Achilles' heel for Xavier on Monday night came in the form of turnovers. The Musketeers turned the ball over 19 times, which led to 22 points off turnovers for Mississippi State. Despite the ball control issues, the women pulled within two points of the Lady Bulldogs with 53 seconds remaining. However, Mississippi State knocked down four consecutive free throws to stymie the Xavier comeback.

The women return to action on Sunday when they travel to Louisville to face the University of Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center. The Musketeers will be looking to avenge last year's loss to the Cardinals in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

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