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Xavier women use 'Big 3' to power past Kansas

ST. THOMAS, USVI (WKRC) -- Xavier women's basketball's version of the `Big 3', seniors Shatyra Hawkes (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances Academy) and Ashley Wanninger (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain) and sophomore Jenna Crittendon (Union, Ky./Ryle HS), combined for 45 points and 11 rebounds as the Musketeers knocked off Big XII foe Kansas, 64-59, Friday afternoon on day two of the 2013 Paradise Jam at the University of the Virgin Islands.

With the win, XU improves to 3-3 overall, while the Jayhawks fall to 4-2 on the season. The win also improves the Blue and White's all-time record vs. the Big XII (5-3) and Kansas (3-1).

The Musketeers, who entered the contest ranked third in the BIG EAST in three-point field goals made per game (7.6) this season, knocked down 4-of-10 shots from behind the arc.

Hawkes tallied four boards, four assists and four steals and scored her game-high 17 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the floor in 34 minutes of action. Crittendon registered 15 points and six rebounds. Wanninger finished with 13 points in 36 minutes. Sophomore Briana Glover (Mason, Ohio/Mason) chipped in with seven points and three boards, while freshman Leah Schaefer (Alexandria, Ky./Highlands HS) totaled three points to go with a career-high 12 boards, one assist, one block and a steal.

Crittendon scored the first points of the game just 11 seconds into the half and a layup from Glover put XU ahead 4-2. Kansas responded with a 10-2 run to grab a 12-6 advantage. A lefty layup from freshman Maddison Blackwell (Gahanna, Ohio/Lincoln HS) at the 9:15 mark (12-8) stopped the KU run and ended a Xavier drought of nearly 10 minutes without a field goal.

An 8-2 run, that included Blackwell's layup and was capped by a pair of Wanninger free throws, tied the game at 14-14 with six minutes left in the opening period. The Jayhawks used a 10-3 spurt to jump back in front at 24-17 (2:23), but a triple from Wanninger at the 1:45 mark stopped the KU run and brought the Blue and White within four points (24-20).

After a jumper from Asia Boyd gave Kansas a 26-20 lead (1:14), the Musketeers used a 6-0 run, highlighted by a triple from Hawkes at the halftime buzzer, to tie the contest at 26-26 heading into the locker room at the break.

Kansas opened the second half with a 17-7 run over the first 6:41 minutes of the period to grab their largest lead of the game (10 points) at 43-33 (13:19). The Musketeers didn't fold and responded in a big way, employing a 23-7 run, highlighted by seven points from Hawkes and Wanninger, to take a 56-50 lead with 4:18 left in regulation.

The Jayhawks then used a 9-2 spurt to take a one-point advantage (59-58) with just 1:04 left in regulation. Off a baseline inbounds play, Hawkes found a wide-open Glover for a layup to put XU in front 60-59 with 33 seconds left on the clock. Following a Kansas timeout, the Jayhawks fired a three-pointer but missed and Glover cleaned up the board and was fouled. Glover made a pair of free throws to increase the Xavier lead to 62-59 with 12 seconds remaining.

Natalie Knight forced up a triple try and this time Crittendon came down with the rebound and was fouled. Crittendon stepped up to the charity stripe and drained a pair of freebies and the Musketeers went on to win by the final score of 64-59.

As a team, Xavier shot 52.2 percent (12-of-23) from the field in the second half compared to a 28.6 percent (8-of-28) mark in the first half. KU knocked down 26-of-56 shots (46.4 percent) from the floor on the afternoon. The Jayhawks outscored the Musketeers, 34-30, in the paint, but were outrebounded by XU, 36-29, and were forced into 20 turnovers.

The Blue and White are back in action on Saturday, November 30 when they take on Central Michigan (1-4) in their final game of the Paradise Jam. Tip-off is set for 1:15 p.m. ET.

Image and information courtesy of Xavier University Athletics




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