CINCINNATI, Ohio - Junior Ashley Wanninger scored a game-high 14 points to lead three players in double figures as Xavier defeated UNCW, 62-52, in collegiate women's basketball action Tuesday at the Cintas Center.
The Musketeers evened their season mark at 5-5 overall with the 10-point victory while the Seahawks, playing their sixth road contest in eight games, moved to 1-7 on the season.
Wanninger was joined in double figures by senior Jessica Pachko and sophomore Lakeisha Crouch, who chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively. Freshman Jenna Crittendon grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds and Crouch added 11 caroms to post a double-double as the Musketeers enjoyed a commanding 53-34 advantage on the glass and a 26-4 edge in second-chance points.
Freshman Dana Brown tallied a season-high 11 points and sophomore Kelva Atkins scored 10 for UNCW. Senior Karneshia Garrett pulled down a team-best 12 rebounds and added nine points while junior Jessica Freeman chipped in nine points, all of which came in the second half.
Xavier never trailed in the contest, taking advantage of a 12-2 run over a four-minute span to build a 14-4 lead with 13:43 remaining in the first half.
The two sides would trade baskets for the next six minutes before back-to-back layups by junior Shatyra Hawkes and Crittendon keyed an 11-6 spurt for the Musketeers that lasted to the halftime break and gave Xavier a 30-16 edge at intermission.
Early in the second half, the Seahawks used a 12-6 spurt to pull within 10, 38-28, only to see Wanninger knock down back-to-back three pointers and convert a transition layup to power an 8-3 Xavier spurt and give the Musketeers a 46-31 cushion with 12:38 left to play.
A three pointer by Brown ended the spurt and helped the Seahawks tally five of the next seven points and make it a 48-36 game.
Xavier would answer the spurt, however, using consecutive layups by senior Amber Gray and Crouch to ignite a 12-4 run and take its largest lead of the game, 60-40, with 3:35 on the clock.
UNCW closed the game on a 12-2 run, highlighted by a pair of conventional three-point plays by Brown, to determine the final margin.
UNCW returns to action Thursday with a 7 p.m. contest at Northern Kentucky. Xavier is back on the floor Friday with a 1 p.m. contest at Indiana.
Xavier evened the all-time series at 1-1 as the two programs met for the second straight season.
The Seahawks moved to 0-2 this season against competition from the Atlantic 10. UNCW will play one more A-10 opponent, Richmond, during non-conference play on Dec. 30 at Trask.
Both teams shot less than 40 percent from the floor as UNCW was 22-of-61 (.361) while Xavier finished 23-of-67 (.343).
Both teams committed fewer than 10 turnovers as UNCW was charged with a season-low eight turnovers while Xavier committed just nine miscues.
UNCW recorded double-figure assists for the fourth time this season as it dished out 11 assists.
Xavier posted a 26-4 advantage in second-chance points as it finished the game with 19 offensive rebounds. 16 of the Musketeers 32 points came in the second half came off second-chance opportunities.
The Musketeers posted a 36-24 advantage in points in the paint, highlighted by an 18-8 edge in the second half.
UNCW notched a season-high eight blocked shots, breaking previous season high of five set against Liberty on Dec. 8.
The 16 points scored by the Seahawks in the first half represented a season low in that category, breaking the old mark of 21, set against West Virginia on Nov. 9.
The Seahawks five free throws made matched the season low for the Seahawks in that category while UNCW's eight free throw attempts were a season low.
The 53 rebounds by Xavier represented a season high for rebounds by a UNCW opponent. The previous season high was 50, established by Liberty on Dec. 8.