Phillips leads No. 7 Xavier past Richmond, 79-57

Ta'Shia Phillips had 21 points and 15 rebounds and No. 7 Xavier opened the second half with a 20-2 run and ran away from Richmond 79-57 on Wednesday night.

Tyeashe Moss added 21 points for the Musketeers (20-2, 9-0 Atlantic 10), who won their 10th in a row since suffering consecutive late-December losses against No. 5 Duke and No. 3 Stanford. Xavier also has won seven in a row against the Spiders.

Richmond (15-9, 6-4), which scored the last five points of the first half to get within 36-27, missed its first 16 shots of the second half. Conference scoring leader Brittani Shells led Richmond with 24 points on 10 for 16 shooting; the rest of the team was 12 for 48.

Amber Harris added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Musketeers.

Phillips arrived averaging 14.8 points and 12.6 rebounds and dominated inside, doing all her scoring within a few feet of the basket. She was 10 for 14 from the field, and set the tone for the second half with two powerful moves inside on Xavier's first two possessions.

Before long, it seemed like all of Xavier's baskets came from in close except for those by Moss, who was 4 for 5 from 3-point range. The Musketeers had two 10-0 runs in the opening 8½ minutes of the second half, with two free throws by Amber Nichols the only interruption.

Not long after, both coaches began substituting freely.

At one point, besides Shells, the rest of Richmond's roster was 4 for 35 from the field, a percentage that climbed appreciably when Ryann Dannelly made their first field goal of the second half with 11:22 to play.

The Musketeers used a 15-4 run late in the first half to open their biggest lead at 36-22 with just over 2 minutes to play. It came after Richmond had closed to within 21-18.

Five points by Shells to close to half made it 36-27. The senior had 17 by halftime, but did not start the second half and played sparingly when the game quickly got out of hand.