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Jernigan's career-high 15 lead four in double figures for Xavier

CINCINNATI -- Dee Dee Jernigan couldn't have picked a better game for a career performance.

The Xavier senior matched her career high with 15 points to lead four Musketeers in double figures as No. 7 Xavier held off Richmond for a 67-55 win on Sunday.

That's the kind of contribution Xavier coach Kevin McGuff hopes to see more of in the last month of the regular season.

"Dee Dee's been playing extremely well," McGuff said. "She's been coming on, and she'll be an important part of the team down the stretch."

Junior Amber Harris scored 14 while junior Special Jennings scored 12 and sophomore Tyeasha Moss added 11 to help the first-place Musketeers (18-3, 8-0 Atlantic-10) post their eighth consecutive win and 10th in their last 11 games. They had to come from behind in the last 3:45 to do it after allowing Richmond to erase a 10-point second-half lead.

"In the first 30 minutes, our concentration and energy were more sporadic," McGuff said. "At the end of the game, the kids did a great job of playing together. We haven't had a close game at the end in a while, and I was happy that we were able to put it together in the closing minutes and executed."

Sophomore Abby Oliver scored a career-high 19 points for the Spiders (15-8, 4-4), who've lost four of their last five despite competing harder than they have all season, coach Michael Shafer said.

"That was one of those games where you're battling the No. 7 team on the road," Shafer said. "Our game plan was to keep them out of the paint, but we had a couple of leaks at the end. We competed with them, if not outcompeted them.I don't know. I'll let Kevin be the judge of that."

Richmond senior Brittani Shells, who went into the game averaging a team-high 17.2 points, bounced back from a scoreless first half to finish with 10.

Katie Rutan made one 3-pointer to give her 60 this season, tying Xavier's freshman record.

After Richmond took a 53-52 lead on a free throw by senior Nikita Thomas with 3:45 left in the game, Jernigan made two free throws 12 seconds later to give Xavier the lead for good. Harris followed with a conventional three-point play with 3:03 left, and the Musketeers pulled away, finishing the game with a 15-2 run.

"I don't think we escaped," said Jernigan, who was averaging 4.7 points per game. "We just put it together when we needed to in the last four minutes and won the game."

Xavier took an 11-0 lead while Richmond was missing its first 17 shots. The Spiders didn't get on the scoreboard until Oliver made a reverse layup with 11:06 left in the first half.

"I just think we were playing good defense," Harris said. "We knew they would come out and play hard from the [tipoff] because we're undefeated [in the league]."

The Musketeers' 14 turnovers before halftime kept them from taking full advantage.

"Richmond played how they play," McGuff said. "In the first half, our biggest problem was turning the ball over. In the second half, we took care of it."