Freshman DeWanna Bonner led the Tigers with 22 points. She made 7-18 field goals, was 3-8 on treys and made 5-8 foul shots. The six-foot-five guard added five rebounds.
"They seemed like they wanted the game more," Bonner said. "They kept working hard and we got comfortable with our lead."
Senior center Marita Payne added 12 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists before fouling out in the closing minute.
The Musketeers were led by 26 points from 6-1 senior forward Tara Boothe. Suntana Granderson, who hit a runner in the lane with 32 seconds left to give the visitors the lead, added 14 points for Xavier.
The Tigers outrebounded Xavier 45-42 and outshot the visitors 37.5 percent to 35.5 percent. AU had 12 turnovers, one more than Xavier.
The difference was at the foul line. The visitors hit 12-20 free throws while Auburn made 7-10.
Auburn coach Nell Fortner said, "We are a work in progress. We have to learn how to win ball games. That was an experienced team that knew how to step up and win the game."
The Tigers return to action with a 4 p.m. CST road game on Sunday vs. UT-Chattanooga.