Amber Harris's 22 Keys No. 9/10 Women's Basketball's 76-71 Win Over No. 18/23 Kansas
Nov. 26, 2009
FREEPORT, Bahamas - Musketeer standout Amber Harris scored 22 points to lead four teammates in double-figures as the No. 9/10 Xavier University women's basketball team defeated No. 19/23 Kansas, 76-71, on Thanksgiving Day at the Junkanoo Jam on Grand Bahama Island. With the win, XU improves to a perfect 4-0 on the season while the Jayhawks slip to 3-1.
Xavier will take on either TCU or Minnesota on Saturday in the Bahamas. TCU and Minnesota will not play until Friday at 11 a.m.
Xavier defeated its second ranked opponent of the season on Thursday as the team downed No. 14/7 Arizona State earlier this year.
XU led by five points, 72-67, after Harris buried a couple free throws with 50-seconds remaining in the second half. However, Kansas made four-straight free throws and cut the lead to one point, 72-71, after Danielle McCray made the second of her two attempts with 27-seconds to go.
Harris made two big free throws on the ensuing possession and Special Jennings buried two more after a big defensive stop by XU to take the 76-71 lead.
Harris' 22 came on 8-of-17 shooting and she was just one rebound shy of a double-double. Junior point guard Special Jennings scored 17 points and dished-out three assists. Xavier, which was without the services of Amber Harris last season due to a knee injury she suffered in the 2008-09 preseason, is glad to have Harris back.
Junior point guard was one-point shy of a career high with 17 points. Jennings also came up big by going 7-for-8 from the free throw line. Junior All-America candidate Ta'Shia Phillips scored 12 points and posted the 37th double-double of her career with 11 rebounds. Senior forward April Phillips also chipped in with 11 points and eight rebounds.
XU fought back from a five-point first-half deficit and took a 38-37 lead at halftime. Intermission did not break the Musketeers' momentum as the team outscored Kansas by a 14-5 margin over the first 4:10 of the second half. April Phillips keyed the run with four points and Harris buried a turnaround jumper at the 15:50 mark to give XU a 52-42 lead.
Kansas would hit shot after shot though and stayed within striking distance until the Jayhawks were able to string together a couple stops and pull to within two points, 68-66, with 3:20 remaining in regulation. Danielle McCray was outstanding for the Jayhawks and connected on 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to pull KU within two points.
Xavier owned the paint, out-scoring the Jayhawks by a 40-to-18 margin and won the battle of the boards, 41-to-25. Kansas was able to shoot a solid 44.8 percent on Xavier, which held the opposition to the lowest field goal percentage defense in the country last year. However, KU was only able to shoot 36.7 percent in the second half.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle throughout, featuring five ties and 12 lead changes. The Musketeers trailed 10-6 just 3:40 into the contest, but were able to respond and took a 21-19 lead after Tyeasha Moss converted on a fast break layup at the ten-minute mark.
However, KU made a run of its own over the next six-minutes and took a 33-28 edge on the strength of a 14-7 spurt. Harris and the Musketeers counter punched by ending the first half on an 8-2 run and headed into the locker room with a slip 38-37 lead. Harris scored the last five points of the first half to key the run.
Both teams scorched the nets in the first stanza as the Musketeers shot 51.6 percent (16-of-31) while the Jayhawks went 15-of-28 (53.6 percent) from the floor.