Saturday, March 17, 2001

XU leaders share numbers, glory

Personal stats don't matter

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Reetta Piipari
(Craig Ruttle photos)
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        Xavier has three players in the top 10 of national offensive statistics, but those numbers could be more imposing if her players weren't so unselfish, coach Melanie Balcomb said.

        Point guard Reetta Piipari led the nation with 8.5 assists a game and was ninth in field goal percentage at 45.5.

        Forward Jennifer Phillips was fifth with a 62.5 field goal percentage, and center Taru Tuukkanen was seventh with a 61.4 field goal percentage.

        “Their numbers and stats are incredible,” Balcomb said of her three senior stars, Phillips, Tuukkanen and Nicole Levandusky. “They've done all those things while sharing the ball with everybody. In any other program, those stats would have been higher.”

        Either Phillips, Tuukkanen or Levandusky led the Musketeers in scoring in 29 of 30 games this season, and they have a combined 4,980 of XU's 9,320 points (53.4 percent) in their four seasons.

Nicole Levandusky
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        SCORING MACHINE: The Musketeers were second nationally in field goal percentage at 52.0 and fourth in 3-point shooting at 41.3. They were ninth with 7.1 3-pointers a game and 13th in points a game at 79.5.

        Xavier has won 18 games this season when scoring 80 or more points.

        The last time XU lost when scoring 80-plus points was 32 games ago, 86-84 to Connecticut in the 1999 NCAA Tournament.

        WINNING STREAK: Xavier now has a 19-game winning streak, beating the program's previous best of 11, last season.

        COACHING CORNER: One more win would tie Balcomb with former Muskeeters coach Mark Ehlen atop the victories list.

        Ehlen, now coaching at Toledo, was 122-130 from 1986-95.

        Balcomb, in her sixth season at Xavier, is 121-58. Overall, in eight seasons at Ashland and Xavier, Balcomb is 149-84.

        BALCOMB FINALIST: Balcomb is one of three nominees for ESPN Magazine's women's basketball coach of the year award. The other nominees are Oklahoma's Sherri Coale and Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw. The winner will be announced during the magazine's inaugural college basketball awards show, televised live from 7-9 p.m. March 28 on ESPN.

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Online pool and college hoops coverage at

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