Women's Hoops Opens 2012-13 with 71-62 Win Over Bucknell

Junior Ashley Wanninger scored a career-high 15 points for the Musketeers

Junior Ashley Wanninger scored a career-high 15 points for the Musketeers

Nov. 10, 2012

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CINCINNATI - The Xavier women's basketball team held off Bucknell Saturday afternoon, 71-62, in its season opener at Cintas Center. The Musketeers were led by junior Shatyra Hawkes who tied her career high with 19 points. She drained a career-high seven field goals as she went 7-of-13 from the field, 3-of-5 from 3-point range as well as a perfect 2-for-2 from the free throw line.

Three other Musketeers recorded double-figures scoring on the afternoon, including junior Ashley Wanninger who tallied a career-high 15 points on the strength of three made 3-pointers and a perfect day at the line (6-for-6). Sophomore Lakeisha Crouch recorded her first double-double of the year with 11 points and 12 rebounds while freshman Aliyah Zantt also chipped in 11 points on the day.

For the game, Xavier (1-0) was 84 percent (21-25) from the charity stripe while Bucknell (0-1) made 14 of its 20 free throws (70%). The Musketeers shot 35 percent from the floor to the Bison's 36 percent. XU made eight of its 24 3-pointers (33%) while BU sank four long-range shots from behind the arc (29%).

Xavier started the second half with a quick bucket from freshman Jenna Crittendon. Bucknell went bucket-for-bucket with Xavier until Zantt hit a long three from the top of the perimeter off a well-executed ball screen and pass from junior Ty O'Neill, giving the Musketeers the 44-40 advantage. O'Neill ended her first career game as a Musketeer with two points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals.

With 11:53 remaining Wanninger hit a wide-open 3-pointer right in front of the Musketeers' bench to put them up 51-43 but the Bison consistently answered back. Xavier came out of the eight-minute media timeout firing as Hawkes hit a three from the top of the perimeter to give the Musketeers a nine point lead, 59-50. Crouch got the ball in the low post off a Bucknell turnover, was fouled and added a free throw to extend the lead to 10.

After a 3:15 scoring drought, Bucknell ended the dry spell with a lay-up to cut the Xavier lead to seven, 55-62, but the Bison would get no closer than six down the stretch. The Musketeers held on, sinking eight consecutive free throws over the last 1:14 of the contest.

The first nine points for the Musketeers came in the form of three-point plays kicked off by senior Amber Gray'slong-range jumper and followed by another 3-pointer from Hawkes. Crouch converted a three-point play off a fast break to widen the lead for the Musketeers to 9-4.

Wanninger ended a 5-0 run by the Bison with a long 3-pointer from the corner followed quickly by a basket in the paint by Crouch as XU regained the lead with 13 minutes gone in the first half. The Bison's 12-11 advantage was the last time they would lead for the rest of the afternoon. The score was knotted at 16 with 11:39 remaining in the first frame when the Musketeers went on a 6-0 run.

Eight of the next 12 points for the Musketeers came from the free throw line, where they were a perfect 11-11 in the first half. The game was tied again at 28-all when Wanninger hit again from downtown and Zantt took advantage of a Bucknell turnover with the fastbreak lay-up assisted by O'Neill. The Musketeers went on a 9-3 run late in the first half and took a 37-33 lead into the half even though they were being out-rebounded by Bucknell 21-13. O'Neill had 4 assists and a steal in 10 minutes of playing time in the first half. The Musketeers were led by Gray, Hawkes, and Crouch who each had 7 points at half. Wanninger and Zantt also each had 6 points at the break.

The Bison were led by Shelby Romine with a game-high 21 points while Audrey Dotson grabbed a game-high 12 boards.

The Musketeers return to action on Monday, Nov. 12 against the Michigan Wolverines. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at Cintas Center.