Ta'Shia Phillips posts eighth double-double as Xavier prevails

CINCINNATI -- Lessons learned.

No. 9 Xavier turned an eye-opening loss at Stanford into a starting point on Wednesday. Center Ta'Shia Phillips had her eighth double-double of the season, and the Musketeers got back to doing the little things right in an 83-51 victory over Missouri.

Xavier (11-2) was coming off back-to-back road losses to top-10 teams -- one point at Duke and 37 points at Stanford -- that ended the best start in school history.

At Duke, the Musketeers wasted a lead in the closing minutes. At Stanford, they buried themselves with a slow start. This one was in hand after an opening 18-4 run.

"We had a lot of people involved tonight," coach Kevin McGuff said. "I thought our energy was really good. I thought the pace of the game for us was really good. Coming off two losses in a row, I thought our players responded really well."

The Musketeers haven't dropped three in a row since February 2004, and were never threatened by the Tigers (8-6). Phillips had 16 points and 15 rebounds, the cornerstone of an offense with four players in double figures. Phillips went 8 of 10 from the free-throw line.

After a tough week of practices, the Musketeers looked more like they did during their 10-0 start.

"Basically, coach McGuff told us we have to get back to what it is we do after the Stanford game and the Duke loss," Phillips said. "We've really worked hard at practice this week. We had two-a-days. We wanted to see the hard work carry over, and it carried over tonight."

Amber Harris had 16 points and seven rebounds, coming off the bench for the second straight game because of a mild concussion. She hit her head during the loss at Duke and has been limited in practice.

"I feel pretty good," Harris said. "It was rough coming back after the Stanford game. We kind of rushed me getting back. I started getting headaches, so I had to take it easy. I'm feeling much better. I had a full practice yesterday, so I'm not limited anymore."

RaeShara Brown scored 15 points for Missouri, which has lost consecutive games to ranked teams.

The Tigers got pushed around inside during a 75-43 loss to Florida State (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) on Sunday. Xavier came out trying to give the Tigers a hard time under the basket, getting the ball inside to Phillips whenever possible.

Xavier's perimeter shooters got openings against the drawn-in defense and fired away. Katie Rutan made three 3s during the opening 18-4 run, her best showing since early in the season.

Rutan, who set a school freshman record for 3-pointers last season, had 18 points in a win at Michigan in the second game of the season. She hurt her left ankle during the next game and sat out the next six. In her first three games back, she was a combined 3 for 9 from the field with no more than one basket in any game.

Rutan finished 3 of 8 from behind the arc with nine points.

Megan Askew had a floater and a putback in the final minute of the first half that pushed it to 41-21, Xavier's biggest lead to that point. Phillips took control at the start of the second half, scoring 12 of Xavier's first 16 points. She had a pair of putbacks -- one off a missed free throw -- as Xavier pulled ahead 57-27.