FREEPORT, Bahamas -- After a disappointing first half, April Phillips took over.
She scored a career-high 19 points and sparked a second-half run to lift Xavier (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) to a 71-56 win over Minnesota in the Junkanoo Jam on Saturday.
"I didn't really do anything differently," said Phillips, who was the tournament MVP. "I struggled during the first half but I saw the team come out in the second half with a lot of intensity so I wanted to step it up and have everybody come with me. We really wanted to get that win so we could enjoy the Bahamas."
The Musketeers led by 12 at the half, but Minnesota rallied to 48-40 with 8:30 to go before Phillips got going. She scored eight points during a 13-2 run over the next 3 minutes that allowed Xavier to put the game away.
"We really dug down and got some big stops there in the second half," Xavier coach Kevin McGuff said. "That led to some transition points that kind of broke the game open. Once again that is a reflection on our effort, our intensity and ability and willingness to share the ball"
Trailing 9-4 early, Xavier went on a 19-2 run to take a 23-11 advantage. The Musketeers held the Gophers scoreless for 7:40 during the spurt.
Amber Harris added 12 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and three blocks for Xavier (5-0). Tyeasha Moss hit four 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.
Ashley Ellis-Milan scored 14 points for Minnesota (5-2). Jackie Voigt added 13.
"Minnesota is an outstanding team. They play incredibly hard and are going to have a great season," McGuff said. "That's a really good win for us because Minnesota is going to be a tough team to beat this year."