Harris' 31 Helps Women's Hoops Hold Off ETSU in NCAA First Round

Special Jennings and the Musketeers are back in action on Tuesday.
Special Jennings and the Musketeers are back in action on Tuesday.

March 21, 2010

Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

Post Game Quotes Get Acrobat Reader

Post Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Buy Photos!

CINCINNATI, Ohio - Junior Wooden Award finalist Amber Harris poured in 31 points and Special Jennings buried a clutch 3-pointer with one-minute remaining in regulation to lead the No. 3 seeded Xavier University women's basketball team to a 94-82 victory over No. 14 East Tennessee State in first round action of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship on Sunday afternoon at Cintas Center. With the win, XU's 19th straight, the Musketeers improve to 28-3 on the season. ETSU concludes its year with a 23-9 mark.

The victory was XU's first in NCAA Tournament play since 2001.

The Musketeers will square-off against No. 6 seeded Vanderbilt on Tuesday, March 23. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Cintas Center and the winner will advance to the Sacramento Regional Semifinal.

Harris' 31 set a new school NCAA Tournament record and surpassed Ta'Shia Phillips' previous record of 26 points, which she set last season. Harris was 15-of-23 from the floor and snared eight rebounds in the win. The 13 field goals also set a new XU record during NCAA Tournament action.

Wooden Award finalist Ta'Shia Phillips was able to improve upon her record 18 rebounds (also set last season) as the junior center hauled in 21 boards to go along with 23 points. Phillips also blocked five shots and was a solid 7-of-10 from the free throw line.

XU also set records for most points (94), field goals (36), and field goal attempts (82).

It looked like the Musketeers had this one in the bag after Harris converted on a driving layup at the 8:50 mark, giving XU a 75-60 lead.

However, East Tennessee charged out to a 20-6 run over the next 6:10 and pulled to within one point, 81-80, with 2:40 to go. However, April Phillips made a clutch play on the ensuing possession by driving the baseline and hitting a driving layup in traffic to stop the run.

Harris followed that up with a jumper but Tarita Gordon hit a pair of free throws to draw ETSU back within three, 85-82, at the 1:20 mark.

That set the stage for Jennings' clutch 3-pointer on the wing with one-minute to go, effectively putting the game away. Jennings also connected on three of her four free throw attempts down the stretch to ice the game away and finished with 15 points and four assists.

Sophomore Tyeasha Moss chipped in with 10 points and a career-high eight assists.

XU used its size advantage to dominate down low and outscored ETSU 50-to-14 in the paint. The team won the battle of the boards, 52-to-34, and held a decisive 28-to-12 advantage in second chance points.

XU shots 43.9 percent from the floor and only 26.9 percent from long-range. ETSU's Tarita Gordon scored 30 points and connected on five 3-point field goals. Both were records for an XU opponent in NCAA Tournament play. ETSU's 15 3-point field goals also established a new record for an XU opponent.

XU once again got out to a fast start and led 9-0 after Harris knocked down a jumper at the 17:40 mark. ETSU would respond though and used a quick 10-0 run to tie the score at 20 after Siarre Evans connected on one of her three first-half 3-pointers.

The Musketeers dominated the interior in the first half but the Lady Bucs owned the perimeter. ETSU netted 12 3-point field goals on only 20 first-half attempts. The Lady Bucs broke the record for most 3-point field goals made by an opponent when Tarita Gordon connected on the team's 10th with 3:10 remaining in the first stanza. The previous record of nine 3-pointers was established on March 12, 1993.

XU withstood the barrage by out-rebounding the Lady Bucs 24-to-13 and out-scored ETSU 24-to-2 in the first session.

ETSU led 45-43 after TaRonda Wiles buried her team's 12th trey but the Lady Bucs failed to close out the first half effectively. Ta'Shia Phillips answered with a couple free throws, after a turnover, Harris converted on a layup. XU got a stop on the ensuing possession and ETSU fouled, setting up an out of bounds situation at three-quarter court.

April Phillips inbounded to Jennings, who took two dribbles and launched a 40-footer that found the back of the net to send XU into the locker room up 50-45. The Lady Bucs' 45 first-half points marked the most XU had given up in a half this season.