By Shannon Russell
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The Xavier women's basketball team leaves Wednesday for Rhode Island, where it could play up to two games in the Atlantic 10 Tournament Friday and Saturday.
But the Musketeers hope to bring the A-10 Championships back to Cincinnati on Monday.
Beginning Thursday, the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I., will host the opening, quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. The championship game will be Monday at the highest remaining seed's campus.
"This is the first year for this set-up, so it'll be interesting to see how it works," XU coach Kevin McGuff said. "I think they're moving the final game to get some more excitement for the home team."
Xavier (19-8, 11-5 A-10) finished second in the conference's West Division and clinched a first-round tournament bye. It plays either La Salle or Massachusetts Friday at 6 p.m.
A Cincinnati homecoming hinges on Xavier wins and a little seeding luck. St. Joseph's, the East Division's No. 1 seed, plays in Xavier's bracket. George Washington, the West Division's No. 1 seed, is in the opposite bracket.
So if Xavier wins A-10 quarterfinal and semifinal games - and plays any team besides George Washington in the finals - Cintas Center will be the title game's site.
McGuff and company are looking no further than Friday.
"We're honestly just focused on our first game. We are a good team when we prepare ourselves mentally, but we don't want to look too far ahead," McGuff said.
Xavier beat La Salle (14-13, 6-10) twice in the regular season, 73-54 on Jan. 12 and 65-56 on Feb. 15. Xavier beat Massachusetts (14-13, 6-10) 77-65 on Jan. 24.
The Musketeers are mounting a bid for their first NCAA Tournament invite in two years. In collegerpi.com's projected tournament brackets, Xavier is seeded ninth. Their RPI is 34.
XU's senior backcourt, Reetta Piipari and Amy Waugh, will be the difference in the A-10 Tournament and beyond. Waugh leads the Atlantic 10 in scoring with 18.7 points a game. She has more 3-pointers (95) than three A-10 teams. Piipari scores 14.1 points a game and dishes out 5.2 assists.
Freshman forward Tara Boothe, the A-10 Rookie of the Week for nine straight weeks, dominates Xavier's inside game. The Highlands grad contributes 16 points and 8 rebounds a game.
Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinals
Matchup: Xavier vs. La Salle or Massachusetts, 6 p.m. Friday
Where: Kingston, R.I.
Semifinals: Saturday, 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., Kingston, R.I. (TV: Fox Sports Net)
Championship: Monday, 5 p.m. TBA (TV: ESPN2)
REDS / BASEBALL
Rose to meet with top baseball official
Reds 7, Phillies 2
Daugherty: Larkin lets go and turns it loose
Williamson sound, now comes fury
Dunn hitting his stride early
Reds' home done within budget
Water taxi to shuttle fans
Cone counsels patience in comeback
Smoltz resigned to role as reliever
Cardinals' La Russa on leave
BENGALS / NFL
Lewis not frustrated by a storm of signings
Redskins tackle free agency at dizzying pace
Ex-Eagles take spotlight in free agency
Stokes closing curtain at UC
After just missing 1 title, UC seeks tourney crown
XU: One more for the road
Musketeers gearing up for an extended postseason stay
Hill signed, Satterfield waived
Big Ten basketball falling short of reputation this season
Top 25: Kansas clinches Big 12
Arizona, Kentucky 1-2 for third straight week
Lampley redeems himself for Hamilton
Warriors reach district finals
Elder, Springboro advance
Rainey pours in free throws to clinch Conner win
Four from area named district players of year
Highlands boys, NCC girls finish atop polls
Today's prep playoff games
Lane's End could have European invaders
Flag protest shows there still are students among athletes
Get ready for a messy Masters
Decline in sportsmanship reflects societal shift
PLAN YOUR DAY
Tuesday's sports on TV, radio
Return to Xavier front page...