Harris and Phillips Lift Women's Basketball to Third A-10 Championship in Four Years

Special Jennings hit a big 3-pointer in overtime to put XU up for good.

Special Jennings hit a big 3-pointer in overtime to put XU up for good.

March 8, 2010

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UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - Most Outstanding Player Amber Harris scored a game-high 23 points and nailed three big 3-pointers and All-Tournament Team member Ta'Shia Phillips hauled in a season-high 21 rebounds to lead the No. 5 Xavier University women's basketball team to a 57-55 overtime victory over Temple in the 2010 Atlantic 10 Championship Final on Monday night at Show Place Area in Upper Marlboro, Md. With the win, the Musketeers improve to 27-3 on the season while Temple slips to 24-8.

The Musketeers, winners of 18-straight, take home their third A-10 Championship in the last four years.

Temple fought back from a big first-half deficit to tie the score up at 53 and had the ball with 23 seconds remaining. However, the Musketeer defense came up with a big stop and forced Temple to take a double-teamed, off-balance shot to send the game into overtime.

The Owls drew first blood in the overtime session but XU clamped down defensively from that point and forced TU to miss its final seven shots of the game. Following a jumper by Marli Bennett 1:10 into the extra session, Special Jennings buried a huge 3-pointer to give the Musketeers a 56-55 lead they would not relinquish.

April Phillips' free throw at the 2:50 mark was the only other scoring of the OT session as Kristen McCarthy failed to convert on a runner as time expired.

Harris' 23 came on 9-of-14 shooting and she was a perfect 3-for-3 from deep. She also blocked two shots and snared seven rebounds. Harris is now 9-0 in Atlantic 10 Championship action.

With those 21 boards, Ta'Shia Phillips became Xavier's all-time rebounding leader in A-10 Championship play. She now has 93 rebounds in seven games and eclipsed Jennifer Phillips' previous record of 76 tonight. Phillips scored nine points and blocked four shots en route to being selected to the All-Tournament Team. The 21 boards were also the most in an A-10 Championship Final and the second most in overall Atlantic 10 Championship play.

Special Jennings scored 12 points and dished-out five assists while turning the ball over only once.

The early stages of the second half and the first half were polar opposites as Temple opened the second session on a 13-1 run and knotted the score up at 33 with 14:40 to go. Temple heated up and made six of its first nine second-half shots while the Musketeers failed to convert on their first five.

However, Dee Dee Jernigan stemmed the tide by burying a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession and allowed Xavier to find its footing. Harris would score eight of Xavier's next 10 points and gave the Musketeers a 46-40 lead when she nailed her third 3-pointer with 8:40 remaining.

Temple would not go away though and a Shaqwedia Wallace trey knotted things up at 53 at the 1:20 mark.

Xavier shot just 37.3 percent but held the Owls to 30.8 percent from the floor. XU won the battle of the boards by a slip 43-to-42 margin.

Xavier seized control of this game from the start and jetted out to a 14-0 lead after Jennings nailed her second 3-pointer of the contest with 14:20 remaining in the first half. Jennings began and ended the 14-0 start with 3-pointers en route to scoring nine first-half points.

Temple would respond though and cut the lead to six points, 17-11, after Wallace converted on a fast break layup at the 8:20 mark to cap an 11-3 Owl run.

That was as close Temple would get though as the Musketeers outscored TU 15-9 for the remainder of the first stanza and headed into intermission with a 32-20 lead.

Xavier held the Owls to just 25 percent shooting (7-of-28) and forced the Owls into eight turnovers in the first half.

Xavier will now await seedings and pairings for the 2010 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship, which will be announced on Monday, March 15. The Selection Show will be televised nationally on ESPN at 7 p.m. The Musketeers will play their first round game at Cintas Center.