Seahawks X-out Musketeers, 59-52
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Junior forward Karneshia Garrett shook off early foul trouble to key a 14-6 spurt midway through the second half as UNCW trimmed Xavier, 59-52, in a non-conference women's basketball game Thursday at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks improved to 6-5 overall and 6-4 in non-league games with the victory in the first meeting between the two teams. The Musketeers of the Atlantic 10 Conference never led in the game and dropped their fifth consecutive outing to freefall to 3-9.
Sophomore playmaker Alisha Andrews led the Seahawks with 17 points, including 13 after intermission as the Seahawks pulled away from the visitors from Cincinnati. Sophomore guard Abria Trice complemented Andrews with a career-high 13 points.
Senior guard Tyeasha Moss paced Xavier with 17 points and connected on 11-for-12 at the free throw line as the Musketeers drained 25-of-30 charity tosses. Sophomore guard Lynette Holmes added 10 points in the loss.
UNCW forged out to a narrow 30-26 lead at halftime and withstood a late Xavier rally to win for the fourth time in five outings. The Seahawks held the Musketeers to a frosty 30.2 percent shooting and forced 21 turnovers.
The Muskeeters had trailed since the 17-minute mark of the first half before finally catching the Seahawks on a jumper by Moss with 14:40 remaining that tied the score at 35-all.
With the score still knotted at 37-all, Andrews lofted in a high-arcing layup on the right side and then Garrett took over. The transfer from Pensacola Junior College scored six points in the decisive 14-6 run that was capped by a free throw from Tawanna Lee that extended the margin back to 51-41 at 4:55.
Xavier managed to creep within 54-50 on a layup by Moss before the Seahawks sealed the win with 5-of-6 free throws in the final 38 seconds.
UNCW capitalized on Xavier's cold shooting to jump out to an early 14-4 advantage. While the Musketeers were missing their first six field goal attempts, the Seahawks reeled off 10 straight points to take command.
After Moss tied the game at 2-all with a pair of free throws, Lee started the spurt with a trey from the left wing and Ayoola Weaver's jumper along the right baseline staked the Seahawks to an early 14-4 margin at 14:36.
With Garrett on the bench in foul trouble, Trice provided the spark offensively while the Musketeers struggled to find the basket. Xavier didn't score a field goal until 13:02 and missed 13 of its first 16 shots as UNCW built its largest lead, 29-18, on a pair of Trice free throws at 5:09.
Xavier did cash in at the free throw line in the opening period. The Musketeers sank all 16 of their charity tosses in the first half to keep within striking distance, trailing 30-26 at intermission.
The Seahawks conclude their non-conference slate on Monday with a 4 p.m. battle at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro. The Musketeers open a two-game homestand on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. tip against Eastern Illinois.
2 - Tawanna Lee
4 - Alisha Andrews
10 - Abria Trice
40 - Karneshia Garrett