Women’s Basketball: Mingo’s big day helps Raiders knock off Musketeers in bounce back win
Tay’ler Mingo led all scorers with 24 points and the Raiders soundly defeated the Musketeers 79-54 Sunday afternoon at the Nutter Center, just eight days removed from suffering its worst loss in program history.
For Mingo, it was the second straight game where she led the team in points on a day where Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year Kim Demmings was largely held in check.
“She was good today and she was ready to go. She’s a good player and when she’s really engaged, she’s very good,” head coach Mike Bradbury said of Mingo.
Demmings finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, but struggled with her shot for the majority of the game. Her first field goal came with 10:25 left.
Where Demmings and the rest of the Raiders excelled at against Xavier was on defense. The Raiders forced the Musketeers into committing 24 turnovers and made numerous hustle plays that have become the staple of the Raiders’ defense all year.
“Offense is always going to come to us, but we’re more of a defensive team,” Ivory James said. “We came out tonight and made sure we were in all of the right spots, we tried to turn them over and that’s what we did.”
As stout as the Raiders were on defense, timely offense is ultimately what kept the Musketeers at bay. After WSU exited the locker room with a 15-point halftime lead, Xavier whittled the deficit down to eight when guard Jenna Crittendon converted an and-one opportunity to bring the Musketeers within 49-41.
They would get no closer.
WSU then began a 20-7 run, fueled by an Abby Jump 3-pointer and clutch foul shots by James and Tayler Stanton. After Mingo’s layup with 6:56 left in the game, the Raiders’ lead had swelled to 69-48 and the game was in hand.
“I think we have our confidence back,” Mingo said. “I don’t think we truly, really lost it. It was more of an eye-opener for us. We think we’re a pretty decent team, but we still have a long ways to go.”
The Raiders (8-3)- a team already rich with role-player talent- received an additional boost Sunday when forward Kourtni Perry and guard Symone Denham both made their season debuts. Bradbury said both players became eligible to play on Saturday, but said he did not plan to use either player against Xavier.
Bradbury added that Perry and Denham’s usage going forward will be gradual, so each player can be eased into the lineup. Perry grabbed three rebounds, Denham recorded one and neither player scored in five combined minutes of play.
WSU returns to the Nutter Center Friday night against Gardner-Webb in the opening round of the Wright State Invitational at 7 p.m.