Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Xavier's Boothe on record course


McGuff exhorts her to be best

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

It's no longer enough that sophomore Tara Boothe might be the best player in the Atlantic 10. Or on her way to becoming Xavier's greatest player. Kevin McGuff can always stay one step ahead of Boothe's billing.

"As soon as she improves, I always raise my expectations," the XU coach said. "She's got to do a whole lot to wow me, and that's the best thing for her."

Boothe has been stellar, even as she adapts to double- and triple-teaming that didn't exist last season with Amy Waugh and Reetta Piipari around. The 6-foot-1 forward is averaging 19.7 points and 7.9 rebounds - ranking second in the league in both - and shooting 59.3 percent, third in the A-10.

Boothe ranks in the top 15 in eight of the league's 12 statistical categories. In conference play (through four games), she has a league-best 23.5-point scoring average, and she matched her career high Sunday with 31 points at Duquesne.

With 775 points midway through her second season, she's on pace to break the school scoring record of 2,036 held by Jo Ann Henderson (nee Osterkamp).

"People will mention that, and it's flattering," Boothe said. "But right now I try to brush that off and play."

Boothe is broadening her game, including a perimeter attack that includes 6-of-12 3-point shooting.

CINCINNATI: The message to Micah Harvey was to get selfish.

Bearcat coaches were happy with the sophomore point guard's passing, as she has posted a strong 2.2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. But it wasn't until Harvey posted back-to-back 15-point games against Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky earlier this month that she rounded out her game.

"Micah's an unselfish kid," associate head coach Dawn Hoosier said. "We reminded her she was her (Eastern Brown) team's leading scorer in high school."

Harvey is averaging 6.6 points and 4.5 assists, including averages of 8.5 points and 5.9 assists the past eight games. Harvey was a reserve last season behind all-time assist leader K.B. Sharp.

MIAMI: The RedHawks (8-5, 2-0 Mid-American Conference) could take a huge step toward repeating as MAC East champs by winning tonight at preseason East favorite Kent State. Last season Miami was the first East team to beat the Golden Flashes on their home court since divisional play began in 1997-98.

MU leads the MAC in scoring, averaging 77.4 points a game. It has five scorers averaging in double figures. Colleen Day (15.2 ppg) ranks third in the league and Cindy Merrill (14.3) is sixth.

OHIO STATE: Michelle Munoz, a sophomore forward from Mason High, is averaging 5.9 points and 3.2 rebounds, shooting 48.4 percent. She has averaged 19 minutes per game.

This week's games

Xavier: vs. Saint Joseph's, 7 p.m. Friday; vs. Fordham, 2 p.m. Sunday.

UC: vs. Memphis, 7 p.m. Friday; vs. Saint Louis, 3 p.m. Sunday.

Miami: at Kent State, 7 p.m. today.

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This women's basketball notebook appears Wednesdays.




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