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No. 7 Xavier’s Interior Too Much For Bonnies To Overcome

No. 7 Xavier’s Interior Too Much For Bonnies To Overcome

CINCINNATI, Ohio – Twenty-seven second-half points from junior Jessica Jenkins and sophomore Chelsea Bowker wasn't enough for St. Bonaventure (12-7, 2-2 Atlantic 10) to overcome No. 7 Xavier Wednesday, as the Musketeers (15-2, 4-0 A-10) rode a 53.6-percent shooting night to a 76-56 win at the Cintas Center.

After getting down by as much as 23 in the second half, the Bonnies were able to trim the deficit to 13 on multiple occasions, but 38 combined points from Xavier seniors Amber Harris and Ta'Shia Phillips thwarted the comeback attempt.

Down 50-27 with 13:07 left in the game, Bowker rattled off two straight 3's before Harris answered with a jumper. Unfazed, Bowker came right back down to hit another 3 – her third and final of the night – to trim the Musketeer advantage to 16 at 52-36. Bowker had previously hit a fade-away baseline jumper before her string of three consecutive 3-pointers, giving the Salem, Ohio, native 11 straight points.

From there, it was Jenkins' turn to take over with the score at 55-37 and 10:46 to play. She hit back-to-back-to-back 3's before converting a fastbreak lay-in, and by the time she had duplicated Bowker's personal 11-point run with one of her own, Jenkins had got the Bonnies back within 13 at 61-48 with 7:03 left.

Unfortunately for St. Bonaventure, that's as close as it would get the rest of the night as Xavier used its significant height advantage to score 40 points in the paint en route to handing the Bonnies their worst loss since 2008.

Jenkins finished with a team-high 19 points on 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. That is the sixth time this year, and second consecutive game, she has hit five 3-pointers in a contest. Sixteen of Jenkins' points came in the second half, and all 11 of Bowker's points came in the same 20-minute frame. Rounding out the trio of Bonaventure double-figure scorers was junior Megan Van Tatenhove who finished with 14, 10 of which came in the first half.

Most of Xavier's interior scoring came from Harris – who finished with a game-high 20 points – and Phillips, who totaled 18. Harris also pulled down a game-high 12 boards, giving her a fourth straight double-double and 10th on the year.

For most of the night, the 6-foot-5 Harris was guarded by sophomore Alaina Walker, who, standing at 5-foot-9, gave up eight inches to the Wooden Award (nation's best player) nominee. The 6-foot-6 Phillips entered the game averaging 13.2 rebounds per game – second best in the entire nation – but St. Bonaventure, 6-foot-1 Van Tatenhove in particular, was able to hold her to just nine caroms, snapping a string of eight consecutive double-figure rebounding games.

After two road games in the last five days in Washington, D.C. and Cincinnati, St. Bonaventure returns home to the Reilly Center on Saturday to continue A-10 play against the Rhode Island Rams at 1 p.m.

Game Notes: Jenkins has now been in double-figure scoring seven of the past eight games … the Bonnies committed 15 turnovers to Xavier's 16, marking just the second time this year they have turned the ball over fewer times than their opponent and lost (8-2) … Xavier's 76 points and 53.6-percent shooting are both season highs surrendered by the Bonnies … the +18 rebounding margin by the Musketeers is also the largest of the year against St. Bonaventure … freshmen Ashley Capotosto and Ashley Zahn both played, marking the third consecutive game they have seen action in … Xavier is the first team this year that came into a game against the Bonnies averaging 70 or more points and reached its average.