8-0, 3-0 Away

Amber Harris leads No. 4 Xavier past rival Cincinnati

CINCINNATI -- Xavier just keeps winning, even if it's not always easy.

Amber Harris had 20 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 4 Xavier to a 69-61 win over rival Cincinnati on Sunday, extending the Musketeers' perfect start to a program-record eight games.

Tyeasha Moss scored 14 points and senior Megan Askew had a career-high 12, all in the first half, to go along with Harris' 44th career double-double. Ta'Shia Phillips also scored 12.

"Both teams played really hard," Xavier coach Kevin McGuff said of the rivalry, with only seven miles separating the two schools. "I was proud of this group for playing down the stretch the way they needed to play."

Xavier (8-0) also beat Cincinnati last season to set the previous program record for best start at 7-0. The Musketeers have won 23 consecutive regular-season games dating to a home loss last Dec. 30 to LSU, but were coming off their closest call of the season, rallying to take the lead in the final 40 seconds last Thursday to pull out a 69-66 win over Southern California.

They won their first six games by an average of 29.7 points.

The last two have been considerably more difficult.

Shareese Ulis scored 24 points, one short of matching her career high, to lead the Bearcats (5-2). Bjonee Reaves and Tiffany Turner both matched their career highs with 10 points each for Cincinnati, losers of two straight.

Cincinnati coach Jamelle Elliott wasn't surprised to see Ulis, the only Bearcat averaging in double figures, come up big against a ranked opponent.

"Shareese is huge," the former Connecticut player and assistant coach said. "She's our leader. She's our point guard, and she has all the confidence in the world. She's a warrior."

Askew surpassed her previous career high of 11 points on a driving layup with 3:54 left in the first half, two of the four points she scored during a 12-2 Xavier run that left the Musketeers leading 34-22 with 3:14 left in the first half.

"It's a nice thing to take away from a game like this," Askew said. "You watch these games for four years and you watch girls have big games, and you want to be one of them. You just want to put your best forward."

Xavier expanded the lead to 47-29 on Moss's 3-pointer early in the second half, but the Bearcats cut the lead to five on Reaves' 3-pointer with 10:21 left in the game.

Xavier's Lynette Holmes slowed the surge by making the first of two free throws, and Harris rebounded the missed second free throw and scored.