Kevin McGuff picks up 200th victory as Xavier rolls

CINCINNATI -- No. 200? No one knew. Not that Kevin McGuff let on.

Amber Harris had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and two other Xavier players nearly had double-doubles in a balanced offense that carried the seventh-ranked Musketeers to a 76-56 victory over St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night.

The Musketeers (15-2, 4-0 Atlantic 10) were walking off the court when the public address announcer told the crowd that McGuff had just won his 200th game at Xavier, a mark no other Musketeer women's coach has reached. None of his players were paying attention.

"He got 200 wins?" Harris said, surprised at the news. "We would have thrown water on him if we knew that."

McGuff never mentioned it to them.

"I'm just happy we beat St. Bonaventure tonight," he said.

His players missed a chance to douse him. Instead, they took another step toward a well-rounded offense, something they've been working on all season.

Xavier never trailed against the conference's top defensive team, leading by as many as 23 in the second half. The Musketeers' 76 points were the most allowed by St. Bonaventure (12-7, 2-2).

"If they're shooting the ball from 3 -- and they haven't this year -- there's not much you can do," St. Bonaventure coach Jim Crowley said. "You try to not let them get rolling on the perimeter, but they did a nice job with that tonight."

Point guard Special Jennings had 11 points and nine assists, passing the ball inside for easy baskets and hitting three 3s with an injured finger on her shooting hand that's starting to get better. Jennings hurt her right index finger in a win over Cincinnati on Dec. 5 and has played the last nine games with it braced and taped.

Jennings had trouble handling the ball and shooting after the injury, making only three 3s in the next seven games. She's hit three in each of the last two games, a sign the hand is much better.

"It's unfortunate it had to happen," Jennings said. "It gave me a little trouble in the beginning as far as shooting the ball. I'm shooting the ball normal again. It's getting a lot better."

Ta'Shia Phillips added 18 points and nine rebounds as the Musketeers nearly had two other players nearly finish with double-doubles. Jessica Jenkins had 19 points for the Bonnies, who have lost nine in a row against the Musketeers.

The Musketeers have been limited by injuries this season. Top 3-point shooter Katie Rutan was sidelined for six games because of a sprained left ankle. Harris, their best all-around player, suffered a mild concussion during a 46-45 loss at Duke and was limited in a blowout loss at Stanford.

Back in health, their offense is looking good. They shot 54 percent from the field -- the best by any Bonnies opponent this season -- and went 7 of 14 from behind the arc. They had assists on 24 of their 30 field goals.

"I think they really have a mentality of execution now and they're playing a little bit quicker, which puts a lot of pressure on your defense," Crowley said.

The Bonnies were coming off a breakthrough win -- their first in 17 games at George Washington -- and were trying for another. They've never won on the Musketeers' court, going 0-8.

St. Bonaventure wins with defense, allowing only 52.7 points per game -- fewest in the A-10, 13th-fewest in the country.

The Bonnies couldn't handle Xavier's diverse offense. Harris had 10 points and nine rebounds -- only one less than St. Bonaventure's team total -- in the first half, which ended with Xavier ahead 31-21. Jennings had eight points and five assists, feeding the ball inside for easy baskets.

Xavier pulled away at the start of the second half. Tyeasha Moss scored off a drive to open the half, and Jennings passed to Harris for a fastbreak layup that made it 35-21. Rutan's 3 made it 50-27 midway through the half.