Xavier’s Gators jumped into the deep end of the basketball pool, the one filled with Division I powers, and had all they could do to survive on Tuesday night (Dec. 2) in their home opener at the Activity Center.
Phoenix Mountain Pointe (Ahwatukee) came in with a swift, athletic, fundamentally sound team and controlled the Gators most of the way for a 63-49 victory.
After winning three of four games in the recent Scorpion Shootout in Goodyear (all against lower-division teams), the Gators fell to 3-2. They travel to face Phoenix Thunderbird on Thursday night (Dec. 4).
Junior inside player Vanessa Murphy led Xavier with 15 points and freshman inside player Montana Oltrogge scored 10. Mountain Pointe also hit five 3-point shots, three by Tilasha Okey, who finished with 20 points. Bailey Osmer scored 12 for the Pride.
There was some good news on the injury front for Xavier. Freshman Alana Kelley, who suffered a badly sprained left ankle in the Scorpion Shootout, returned to action and scored seven points. Coach Frank Villa initially figured she would be out a week or two.
Xavier led briefly in the first quarter, but Mountain Pointe had a pair of free throws and a basket in the final 19 seconds of the period to take the lead for good.
Mountain Pointe stretched its lead to 20 points midway through the third quarter. The lead stayed about the same before Xavier went on a 9-0 run over the last few minutes to make its deficit more respectable.