No. 5 Xavier beats Richmond 61-52 in A-10 quartersMar 6, 2010 - 10:44 PM UPPER MARLBORO, Md.(AP) -- Xavier entered last season's Atlantic 10 postseason as the top seed, only to get bounced in the quarterfinal round. The Musketeers were not about to let that happen this time around.
Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Amber Harris had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 5 Xavier to its 16th straight victory Saturday, a 61-52 win over Richmond in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
"I am glad that it's over with," Harris said.
April Phillips added 17 points and Special Jennings scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half for the Musketeers (25-3). They will play in a semifinal Sunday against Charlotte, which beat Saint Joseph's.
"We had won it two years in a row and played really well in those tournaments and came in last year and did not give our best effort," said Xavier coach Kevin McGuff, the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year. "That's something where we certainly wanted to redeem ourselves."
Xavier held a 43-32 rebounding edge and never trailed against Richmond, leading by 13 in the first half, but saw its lead cut to 41-39 with over 10 minutes remaining.
"They made a little run so we were like 'OK, let's just get together and go out play our game, extend the lead back out to what it was,"' said Harris, who scored 11 points in the second half. The 6-foot-5 junior forward missed the 2008-09 season with a knee injury.
Brittani Shells, who joined Harris on the All-Conference team, scored 21 points for the Spiders (19-12). Abby Oliver added 13 points, including two free throws with 4:03 left that pulled the Spiders to within 47-43, but they got no closer as the Musketeers took advantage of their size inside to score the next five points.
"We have outstanding post players, I thought in particular April Phillips was terrific today," McGuff said. "She did a great job around the basket and then with what Amber and Ta'Shia (Phillips, nine points, 12 rebounds) also added, we had a great presence around the basket. That was important for us to get the victory."
The Musketeers used their inside dominance for a 34-16 advantage in the paint, which helped make up for their poor shooting from the 3-point (1 for 6) and free throw lines (20 for 32, 62.5 percent).
"They imposed their will and their will is their strength and their athleticism," Spiders coach Michael Shafer said. "A shot goes up and you got five kids crashing the boards and one of them of 6-5 and one of them is 6-6 and strong, they are going to have a better chance at it even if you are trying like crazy to box out. Our kids were trying like crazy to get (rebounds). They were able to make a few more plays then we were."
Rachael Bilney added 11 points for the Spiders, who have dropped seven straight to the Musketeers.The Musketeers held the Spiders to 31 percent shooting (9 for 29) from the field in the first half and took a 29-21 lead at the break.
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