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Xavier 86, No. 9 Virginia Tech 79

March 1, 1999

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Nicole Levandusky had 23 points as Xavier knocked off No. 1 seed and defending champion Virginia Tech 86-79 in the Atlantic 10 Conference semifinals on Sunday night.

Levandusky was 9-for-13 from the field, including 5-for-7 from beyond the 3-point arc, as the Musketeers (23-7) defeated the ninth-ranked Hokies for the second time this season and advanced to their first Atlantic 10 final in their four years in the league.

Nikki Kremer had 17 points and 12 assists, Jennifer Phillips had 25 points, Katie Griggs added 13 points and Taru Tuukkanen chipped in 12 for Xavier.

Amy Wetzel matched a career-high 28 points, Tere Williams had 20 points and Lisa Witherspoon added 13 assists for Virginia Tech (26-2).

Both teams shot the ball well in the entertaining game, with the Musketeers making 58 percent (33-for-57) from the field, the highest any team has shot against the Hokies this season. Xavier also sank 50 percent from beyond the 3-point line, making 9-of-18. Virginia Tech was 32-for-59 (54 percent) from the field.

The lead changed hands 13 times during the first 28 minutes. But Xavier took the lead for good when Kim Hotz converted a three-point play to make it 57-55.

Katie O’Connor then hit one free throw with 9:31 to go. But Xavier went on a 9-1 run, with Levandusky burying two 3-pointers, to open up a 63-56 lead. That advantage would eventually grow to 12 in the final minute.

The Hokies _ who lost just twice this season, both times to Xavier _ were stretched to triple overtime in the quarterfinal round before beating Dayton 73-72. Witherspoon, the team’s leading passer, sat out that one with back spasms. She played in the loss to Xavier, but her status was unsure until just before game time.

The Musketeers advance to the finals to face the winner of the George Washington-St. Joseph’s game.