Sunday, February 24, 2002

Xavier women: A-10 tourney only hope for NCAA bid



By Gary Estwick
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Xavier women's basketball story line is simple: Win four straight games at the Atlantic 10 Tournament in early March or end a streak of three straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

        “It's a new season once the conference tournament comes around,” junior guard Amy Waugh said. “I think everyone has a shot.”

        Earning an automatic bid by winning the conference tournament next week at Temple's Liacouras Center will be a challenge. Xavier hasn't won more than two straight games all season. The Musketeers (10-17, 5-10) host Richmond at 2p.m. today at Cintas Center.

        The team has lost in bunches. The Musketeers lost three straight before beating Duquesne 82-61 Friday night. The win gave Xavier the fifth seed in the A-10 tournament.

        After reaching the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, following last season's success has been hard.

        Waugh, who leads the team in scoring with 16.1 points a game, said Xavier is relaxed and anticipating a chance to put together a winning streak.

        “I don't think the pressure is on us,” said Waugh, who scored 20 points against Duquesne. “We're in a good spot. People are going to take us for granted. We just need to go out and prove that we can do it.”

        Last season, Xavier won the conference tournament en route to a school-record 31 wins.

        “It's a different feel from last year, heading into the tournament as defending champions,” coach Melanie Balcomb said. “Now we're going to go and play the spoiler.”

       



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