CINCINNATI- The Xavier women’s basketball team fell just short Sunday afternoon in the Cintas Center, dropping a 56-54 contest against the Duquesne Dukes. Senior Amber Gray led the Musketeers with 15 points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes. Junior Ty O’Neill had a career-high nine rebounds and freshman Aliyah Zantt tied career-highs in points (12) and rebounds (6).
Xavier out-rebounded Duquesne 44-39 and the Musketeers shot 36 percent to the Dukes 31.8 percent for the game. Both teams struggled from the line as XU made 13-of-24 (54.2%) free throw shots to DU’s 7-of-13 (53.8%) shooting from the line.
Despite its 20 point deficit with 17:26 to go, the Musketeers battled on offense and defense to get within one field goal from sending the game to overtime. Xavier (8-7, 0-1 A-10) outscored Duquesne (12-3, 1-0 A-10) 35-22 in the second half after trailing 34-19 at halftime. Ten of Duquesne’s 15 total turnovers came in the second half.
The momentum shifted in the second half as the Musketeers came out firing on all cylinders. The Musketeers went shot-for-shot with the Dukes in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
At 11:23 of the second half, the Musketeers turned the tables on the Dukes. Junior Shatyra Hawkes made two free throws that both ignited the Xavier offense and stifled the Duquesne offense for the final 10:52 of the game. The Musketeers went on a 23-8 run to end the game and came up inches short on the final shot by Zantt that would have tied it and sent the game to overtime.
Xavier suffered its largest halftime deficit of the season of 15 points, trailing 34-19 at halftime. The largest deficit they faced prior to Sunday was nine against Cincinnati on December 12. Gray led the way for the Musketeers with nine points at halftime to go along with three rebounds. The senior shot 75 percent from the field (3-of-4) and was perfect from the free throw line (2-of-2).
Both Xavier (15) and Duquesne (6) had trouble handling the ball as both teams combined for 21 turnovers in the first half. The Dukes made the most of the Musketeers’ mistakes as they scored ten points off of turnovers.
It was an offensive struggle prior to the halfway mark in the first half as the Musketeers were shooting 18.7 percent while the Dukes were shooting 37.5 percent. Xavier attacked the basket early in the first half earning four free throw attempts in the first three minutes with freshmen Briana Glover and Jenna Crittendon each making one.
April Robinson was the leading scorer for the Dukes, putting up a game-high tying 15 points and Wumi Agunbiade brought down 10 of the Dukes’ 39 rebounds.
The women return to action Wednesday night when the travel to Indianapolis to take on the Butler Bulldogs at 7:00 pm at Hinkle Fieldhouse. They travel to Charlotte to take on the 49ers on Sunday, January 20. The Musketeers return to the Cintas Center Wednesday, January 23 when they face the Fordham Rams.
Duquesne had an 11-0 run lasting 3:29. The Musketeers didn’t make a field goal for 5:39 in the first half, which was eventually broken by Kristine Rose with 4:47 left in the first half.
Xavier suffered its largest halftime deficit of the season, trailing by 15 at halftime. This surpassed the nine point deficit they faced against Cincinnati on December 12, 2012.
Xavier went on a 9-0 run capped by an offensive rebound and three points from Amber Gray. The run lasted 1:26, pulling them within nine points with 9:26 left in the game. Xavier ended the game on a 23-8 run and outscored Duquesne 35-22 in the second half after coming out of the locker room at halftime down 34-19.
Ty O’Neill had a career-high eight rebounds.
Amber Gray had a season-high 35 minutes.
Aliyah Zantt tied career-highs in points (12) and rebounds (6).