Jan. 3, 2009
Sunday's Game Notes
CINCINNATI – The Xavier University women’s basketball team travels to Starkville, Mississippi to take on Mississippi State on Sunday, January 4. The Bulldogs boast an impressive 12-1 mark this season while XU stands at 11-4. Game time is set for 3 p.m. eastern and fans can follow the action live via internet radio broadcast on GOXAVIER.com.
McGuff Eclipses All-Time Wins Mark
McGuff Moves Up A-10 Charts
Head coach Kevin McGuff became XU’s all-time winningest coach when his team defeated Kentucky by a 67-44 count on December 2. McGuff’s record at Xavier now stands at 141-63 and his .691 winning percentage is the highest in XU history. Melanie Balcomb, the current head coach at Vanderbilt and previous record holder at XU, eclipsed Mark Ehlen’s all-time mark in her first try as did McGuff. It took Balcomb 212 games to reach 135 wins ... McGuff won his 135th game in his 196th game. McGuff is the first coach to lead XU to the postseason in each of their first six seasons.
Head coach Kevin McGuff is bolting up a couple of lists after leading XU to an 11-3 conference record last season. McGuff is in ninth place on the all-time Atlantic 10 winning percentage list (regular season games only). McGuff has a record of 65-27 in A-10 regular season games since the 2002-03 season for a winning percentage of .707, which is the best among active coaches. McGuff now sits in a tie for 11th place, after just six seasons, on the A-10 wins list (regular season games only) with 65.
Xavier Begins Season Ranked by AP
The Musketeers began the season ranked in the Associated Press Poll for the first time in school history. XU checked in ranked No. 22 in the country. Xavier remained in the AP Top 25 for the first three weeks of the season but fell out after losing to Cincinnati on 12/7 and are currently receiving the 30th-most votes in the country. The Musketeers have now been ranked for 22 weeks in their history. Prior to this season, the last time XU was ranked was the week of March 12, 2001; the final poll of the 2000-01 season. Xavier is 35-7 all-time as a ranked team and has reached as high as No. 12 in the AP Poll. XU is currently receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll as well.
The Series vs. Mississippi State
Xavier is 1-1 all-time against the Bulldogs as the two sides played a home and home series during the 2001-02 and 2003-03 seasons. XU won the first showdown by a 74-72 count on New Year’s Eve at Cintas Center and MSU took the second contest by a 78-64 count on 1/2/03 in Starkville. Xavier is 16-9 all-time vs. teams currently playing in the SEC, including a perfect 3-0 this season.
Ta’Shia Reaches 500 in a Hurry
Sophomore star Ta’Shia Phillips has accumulated 544 and she hauled in her 500th against Davidson on December 19. Phillips reached 500 career rebounds in 45 games, which is faster than any Musketeer in team history. Amber Harris was the previous record holder, reaching 500 boards in 56 games.
Taylor and Jennings Go Off vs. MSU
The backcourt duo of Jerri Taylor and Special Jennings combined to score 43 points on 15-of-27 (.556) shooting, including a scintillating 9-of-12 (.750) from beyond the 3-point arc vs. Michigan State on December 14. Jennings’ 18 points marked a career high and Taylor’s five assists matched her career best.
Musketeers Clean the Glass vs. Zips
The Musketeers pulled down a season-high 61 rebounds vs. Akron on December 5. That total marked the highest rebounding output XU had put together since Kevin McGuff took over as head coach prior to the 2002-03 season. The team was only one rebound shy of matching the school record of 62 boards, established at Marquette during the 1991-92 season.
Phillips Snares 25 Boards at UNC
Sophomore standout Ta’Shia Phillips scored 23 points and hauled in 25 rebounds in Xavier’s 73-67 loss at No. 4 North Carolina on November 19. The 25 boards marked a new school record, a 2008-09 season national single-game high and also established a new record for most rebounds by an opponent playing against UNC. Furthermore, Phillips tied the Dean Smith Center’s record for rebounding by any player in the history of the building. Sean May also pulled down 25 boards in a game against Duke during the 2004-05 season. Below is a list of the top single-season rebounding highs this season. Incidentally, Phyllisha Mitchell grabbed her 21 rebounds vs. Winthrop at Cintas Center on 11/30, establishing at new Cintas Center record.
Xavier Not at a Loss
XU’s loss to Louisville on November 22, 2008 marked the Musketeers’ first two-game losing streak since the team dropped a 61-55 decision to Cincinnati on December 1, 2007. Since the 2004-05 season, XU is 34-3 following a loss. XU avoided its first three-game losing streak since the 2003-04 season when it beat LSU by a 57-48 count in Baton Rouge on November 26.
Ta’Shia Phills Up the Stat Sheet
Ta’Shia Phillips leads the Atlantic 10 in rebounding and is 11th in the country in rebounds per game. Phillips also leads the conference in field goal percentage and is 10th nationally. She finished the 2007-08 season sixth nationally in rebounds per game. Phillips had 18 double-doubles last year and finished sixth in the country with a field goal percentage of .594 in 2007-08.
Name, School Cl. RPG.
1. Noteisha Womack, Set. Hall Sr. 14.3
2. Arnika Brown, W. Ky. So. 13.3
3. Courtney Paris, Okla. Sr. 13.2
4. Judie Lomax, Columbia So. 13.1
5. Phyllisha Mitchell, UT Martin Sr. 12.1
6. Ify Ibekwe, Ariz. So. 11.9
7. Courtney Taylor, Houston So. 11.6
8. Jantel Lavender, OH St. So. 11.5
9. Jenisha Cann, IUPUI Sr. 11.5
9. Amber Jackson Sr. 11.5
11. Ta’Shia Phillips, XU So. 11.4
On the Rebound
The Musketeers have been one of the top rebounding clubs in the Atlantic 10 since Kevin McGuff’s arrival prior to the 2002-03 season. XU has never finished worse than fourth in rebounding margin since the 2002-03 season and led the league in rebounding margin during the 2003-04 (+5.2), 2004-05 (+4.1) and 2007-08 (+8.6) seasons. This year, Xavier is also leading the league with a +9.1 rebounding margin. The Musketeers are 23rd in the country in rebounding margin. Last year, Xavier was seventh in the nation with a +8.6 rebounding margin.
Field Goal Pct. Defense = Hat Rack
Since Kevin McGuff became head coach XU has clearly made a point to be a great rebounding team. However, Xavier has also hung its hat on holding the opposition to a low field goal percentage. Since the 2005-06 season, Xavier has held its opponents under 40.0 percent shooting each year. This season, XU leads the A-10 and is seventh in the country with field goal percentage defense of 32.8.
Season FG% Def. A-10 Rank
2008-09 32.8 1st
2007-08 35.2 1st
2006-07 36.5 2nd
2005-06 39.9 8th
Kentucky Struggles Again vs. XU
Xavier is 6-1 all-time vs. Kentucky but the Musketeers have really had the ‘Cats’ number of late. XU held Kentucky to just 21.0 percent shooting and 44 points during the contest on December 2. On New Year’s Day 2008, XU held UK to just 11.1 percent (3-for-27) shooting in the second half and downed the Wildcats by a 51-46 count.
Jernigan Sparks Comeback at LSU
Junior guard Dee Dee Jernigan took the game over late for XU and propelled the Musketeers to a big 57-48 win at LSU on November 26. LSU, a team that has been to the last five NCAA Final Fours, had no answer for Jernigan in the final 5:10 of the contest. She scored eight of her career-high 15 in that span and connected on a huge 3-pointer with 1:30 remaining in the game to give XU a commanding 50-42 lead. Jernigan also snared eight boards against the Lady Tigers.
Three Musketeers Earn Preseason Recognition; XU Favored to 3-Peat
Amber Harris, Ta’Shia Phillips and Jerri Taylor each earned preseason accolades from the Atlantic 10 Conference. Harris and Phillips were each named to the Preseason All-Atlantic 10 First Team while Taylor earned mention on the Third Team. Additionally, Xavier was selected to win the Atlantic 10 Conference after receiving 15 of 16 first-place votes in a poll conducted by the league coaches and media.
XU vs. the Power Conferences
Xavier is 31-32 all-time vs. teams from the ACC, BIG EAST, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-10. XU tied a school record by playing nine teams from BCS conferences in 2007-08. XU is 21-20 vs. BCS schools since Kevin McGuff was named head coach prior to the 2002-03 season and finished the 2007-08 regular season at 4-5 vs. the power conferences. Xavier is 4-4 vs. the BCS Conferences this season.
Young Musketeers Have Bright Future
Last year’s version of the Musketeers had quite the different look from the 2006-07 squad. The 2007-08 team lost four starters and the league’s Sixth Player of the Year but still went on to defend its Atlantic 10 Championship. Additionally, that team boasted the youngest starting lineup of any team to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. This year, the Musketeers return all five starters and only have two seniors (Tudy Reed, Jerri Taylor) on the roster. The table below displays the production that this year’s team and last year’s team lost from the previous season.
% Scoring Lost 67.3 1.4
% Rebounding Lost 61.2 2.1
% Assists Lost 68.3 1.8
% Minutes Lost 74.9 2.5
Xavier a Regular in the Postseason
XU has appeared in national postseason play in all six of Kevin McGuff’s seasons as head coach. The team has qualified for either the WNIT or the NCAA’s in 11 of the last 12 seasons. XU made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 2000 and 2001.
Year Postseason Result
2008 NCAA First Round
2007 NCAA First Round
2006 WNIT Second Round
2005 WNIT Quarterfinal
2004 WNIT First Round
2003 NCAA First Round
2002 None --
2001 NCAA Elite Eight
2000 NCAA First Round
1999 NCAA Second Round
1998 WNIT First Round
20 Win Notes
Xavier won its 20th game of the 2007-08 season on February 23rd at La Salle. Xavier has won 20 games in four consecutive seasons and the team has won 20 regular season games in each of the last three seasons. XU has won 20 games in five of Kevin McGuff’s six seasons as head coach and the team has won at least 20 games in eight of the last 10 years.
Year Reg. Season Wins
1. 2000-01 25
2. 2006-07 23
2. 1999-00 23
4. 2007-08 21
4. 1998-99 21
5. 2005-06 20
Year Most Overall Wins
1. 2000-01 31
2. 2006-07 26
2. 1999-00 26
4. 2007-08 24
4. 1998-99 24
6. 2004-05 22
7. 1992-93 21
7. 2005-06 21
9. 1981-82 20
9. 1993-94 20
9. 2002-03 20
Xavier Leads the Way in A-10 Championship
The Musketeers are 22-9 all-time in the Atlantic 10 Championship and their .710 winning percentage is tops among teams currently playing in the Atlantic 10. GW’s winning percentage of .596 in A-10 Championship play is second among active teams. Xavier has beaten every team in A-10 Championship play at least once except for Charlotte and Duquesne as XU has never been paired against the Niners or the Dukes in A-10 Championship action.
Phillips Breaks Harris’ Record
Amber Harris established a new single-season rebounding record when she snared 303 boards during the 2006-07 season. Her record fell on February 27, 2008 though, and Ta’Shia Phillips finished the 2007-08 season with a record 371 rebounds. Phillips led the Atlantic 10 at 11.2 rebounds per game.
New Magic Number
The standard of 80 points had stood as a key to a Xavier victory as the Musketeers won 39 straight when scoring 80 or more from 1999-2002. But since Kevin McGuff has taken over, a new magic number has been established. Xavier has gone 78-4 (.951) in six+ seasons under McGuff when scoring at least 70 points. XU’s only losses when scoring 70+ points were an 82-79 overtime loss at Richmond on 1/5/04, a 74-72 loss to No. 22 Maryland on 12/4/04, a 76-72 loss at Charlotte on January 3, 2006 and most recently the 82-71 loss at Florida to open up the 2007-08 campaign.