7:00 PM ET, February 23, 2011
CINCINNATI -- Xavier's four senior starters sat on the court in folding chairs and watched a postgame videoboard tribute to their careers, ones that are starting to wind down but aren't close to finished.The foursome's biggest games are just ahead.Amber Harris scored 23 points, and No. 6 Xavier completed another perfect Atlantic 10 season at home by beating George Washington 67-41 on Wednesday night, setting up a one-game showdown for the league title.The Musketeers (24-2, 13-0) won their 30th consecutive A-10 game and kept even with co-leader Temple. The Owls beat Saint Joseph's 52-49 on Wednesday, leaving them 13-0 heading into their high-stakes game at Temple on Sunday."The year is far from over," point guard Special Jennings said. "We've still got to play the A-10 tournament, then the NCAA. There's still a lot of basketball to play. I don't think we're going to get too emotional until the season is actually over."The Musketeers were a bit off their game on senior night, but got it together behind their best player. Harris returned for one more season rather than turn pro, hoping to lead Xavier to its first Final Four, one that will be held in her hometown of Indianapolis.Harris, Jennings, Ta'Shia Phillips and Megan Askew received framed photographs of themselves and bouquets of flowers after the game, which was more about what's yet to come. The first two rounds of the NCAA tournament will be played at Xavier, so it didn't have the feeling of a finale."It's just another day, another game," Harris said. "It was important because it's senior day. Other than that, it's over and now we move to the next one and try to accomplish something bigger."Xavier has won the last two regular-season titles with the same core of players. The Musketeers lost to Stanford in a regional final of the NCAA tournament last season."I told them before the game I'm not going to take inventory yet as to all they've helped us accomplish because I still think we've got a whole bunch to do with them here," coach Kevin McGuff said.Xavier men's coach Chris Mack sat in the stands behind the student section for the first half, supporting the school's other first-place team. The men also lead the A-10 and are No. 25, making Xavier one of eight Division I schools with both teams nationally ranked.Again, Harris put on a show.The fluid forward repeatedly made pull-up jumpers over a defense geared to take away the inside. She also had 10 rebounds as part of her 15th double-double. Tyeasha Moss added 12 points, going 4-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc.Tiana Myers had 11 points for George Washington (8-19, 3-10), which was down to seven healthy players. Leading scorer Danni Jackson (10.3 points) suffered a concussion in the Colonials' last game and didn't play.George Washington took advantage of Xavier's out-of-sync offense early, snuffing out the Musketeers' inside game. Harris took control, making three consecutive baskets. She got a rebound and drove the length of the floor for a left-hand layup, made a 15-foot baseline jumper, then hit a 6-footer in the lane.Nobody could stop that."A pro," George Washington coach Mike Bozeman said. "What else can you say about that? She's a pro."The Musketeers opened their lead in the closing minutes of the half. Harris and Jennings sparked an 11-2 run that put Xavier ahead 36-25. Jennings, who leads the conference in assists, passed inside to Ta'Shia Phillips for a layup and made a 17-foot jumper during the spurt. Harris had a pair of free throws and a layup.Xavier pulled away at the start of the second half, holding the Colonials to one field goal over the first eight minutes. Harris' three-point play pushed it to 54-30."I am proud of my group," Bozeman said. "You could see where that first half took it out of them. You could see them hit a wall. I asked them to give me all they had, and I believe they did. I know they did."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||16-53 (.302)||26-58 (.448)|
|3P Made-Attempted||3-17 (.176)||8-20 (.400)|
|FT Made-Attempted||6-8 (.750)||7-11 (.636)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||10 (0/0)||6 (0/0)|