By Colleen Kane
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The Xavier women's basketball team continued its climb out of the Atlantic 10 cellar Sunday afternoon at Cintas Center.
Behind 28 points from sophomore forward Tara Boothe, Xavier defeated Duquesne 62-45 to extend its winning streak to five games. The Musketeers, who started the conference season 1-4, now sit in second place in the Atlantic 10 West, a half game ahead of Duquesne and Richmond.
"We had a rough start to the A-10 and the thing our kids have done is continue to hang in there and continue to work in practice, and now it's starting to show up," Xavier head coach Kevin McGuff said. "We have a lot of young kids who this is still all new to them. But every game we get better."
After heading to halftime tied at 24, the Musketeers went on a 9-2 run in the first 4:30 of the second half to take the lead for good. Duquesne had used a similar second-half performance to beat Xavier Jan. 11.
"Coach said, the first four minutes let's go out and win it, and we'll go from there," Boothe said. "We're not the type of team that will say, 'Oh, well we lost to them in that second half (before).' We know we're a better team than we should have been. We knew we had to come out and prove that to them."
And that included proving themselves on defense. Xavier held the Dukes, who have averaged 69.3 points a game this season, to a season-low 45 points.
Duquesne guard Candace Futrell, who scored a career-high 36 points in the Dukes' previous win over Xavier, was held to 18 points Sunday.
"We prepared, and we were just a lot better on her. We were more focused," McGuff said. "Kristy Wallner did a great job, and Nikki Wells came in and did some good things on her, so mostly it was just because of our effort."
Freshman point guard Miranda Green chipped in 10 points.
The Musketeers (14-7, 6-4) ride their winning streak into a tough final seven games of the season, including a matchup with A-10 East leader Temple next Sunday.
DUQUESNE (10-9, 5-4 A-10) - Sinclair 0-2 1-2 1, Stankevich 0-2 1-2 1, Bautre 5-10 1-2 14, Sharon 3-7 1-2 7, Futrell 7-19 3-4 18, Borasky 0-1 0-0 0, Baker 0-0 0-0 0, Hall 2-2 0-0 4, Wehrle 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-43 7-12 45.
XAVIER (14-7, 6-4 A-10) - Olanrewaju 2-6 1-4 5, Boothe 10-15 7-8 28, Green 4-7 2-2 10, Wallner 0-3 1-4 1, Granderson 1-12 1-2 3, Chowning 2-6 1-2 6, Geryak 1-3 2-2 4, Wells 0-1 1-2 1, Sarajlija 1-2 0-0 2, Henderson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 22-57 16-26 62.
Halftime: XU 24, D 24. 3-pointers: D 4-15 (Stankevich 0-1, Bautre 3-7, Sharon 0-1, Futrell 1-6), XU 2-19 (Boothe 1-2, Green 0-1, Wallner 0-1, Granderson 0-8, Chowning 1-4, Geryak 0-2, Sarajlija 0-1). Rebounds: D 26 (Sinclair 7, Futrell 7), XU 40 (Boothe 9). Assists: D 8 (Stankevich 3, Sharon 3), XU 11 (Green 3, Geryak 3). Technical fouls - None. Attendance - 1,329.
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