WBB drops season opener to Kent State at the buzzer

Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics | Duquesne redshirt junior guard Nina Aho drives to the hoop on Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena. Aho finished the night with 12 points, shooting 5 of 9 from the field before she fouled out of the game. Injuries limited Aho to just five games last season, but now healthy, the guard will likely be a major contributor for the Dukes this year.

David Borne | Sports Editor

Nov. 7, 2019

With just over four seconds to play in Duquesne women’s basketball’s home opener at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday, Kent State drew up a play for redshirt senior guard Megan Carter. After inbounding the ball, Carter quickly got possession back, rolled to the rim and buried a teardrop shot into the basket.

The bucket gave Kent State a two-point advantage, one that would’ve taken an absolute miracle for Duquesne to overcome in the game’s remaining 0.2 seconds.

Kent State’s bench stormed the court in celebration after the final buzzer, and the Golden Flashes walked out of the Steel City with a 77-75 win.

“Tough, bitter loss for us today,” head coach Dan Burt said. “Obviously, a couple more stops and we come away with the ‘W’, but that didn’t happen.”

“We’re in a situation where we’re a very unproven team with a lot of people that don’t have experience on the court … We’re going to have some games like this, and we’re going to have to learn from this to buckle down and find a way to get a stop.”

Duquesne came out of the gate hot to start the night and held a 25-16 lead after the first quarter. The Dukes continued to piece together a strong first half in the second period of play, as they held a 45-38 lead at halftime.

Continuous, and sometimes questionable, foul calls in the second half caused issues for the Dukes. Nina Aho, Laia Sole and Paige Cannon all fouled out of the contest, and both Angela Staffelino and Amanda Kalin finished with four fouls. In total, the Dukes racked up 29 total fouls, compared to 17 from the Golden Flashes.

Kalin, who ended the night tied for the team-lead in points (14), noted that the choppiness of the game did make it difficult to create an offensive rhythm. But, she knows the team has to adjust to whatever the course of the game brings.

“It’s hard on offense when you want to attack,” Kalin said. “But the bottom line is, it’s what we have to do better and it’s not about the refs.”

Foul trouble wasn’t the only thorn in Duquesne’s side on Tuesday night. As Burt mentioned, defensive woes were prevalent, especially when guarding the three-point arc. The Golden Flashes finished the night shooting 10-19 from deep.

“That’s where our breakdowns happened. We allowed [Lindsey Thall] and the freshman, [Katie Shumate], to make some threes,” Burt said. “Another three or six inches closer and they probably don’t take the shot. We closed out a little too short on those, and those are correctable things that we should’ve been better at. We tried to tell them in the huddle, but those are the things we have to fix.”

The duo of Thall and Shumate posted a combined 39 points, knocking down eight three-point shots.

Duquesne now has a few days to prepare for its next game. The Dukes will take on Temple at 7 p.m. on Friday at McGonigle Hall in Philadelphia. The trip to Philly marks the first leg of a two-game road trip for the Dukes, as they will wrap up their weekend against Manhattan on Nov. 10.

Temple was selected to finish sixth in this seasons’ American Athletic Conference preseason poll and should be another strong test for this Duquesne team.

Tuesday night proved the Dukes can put points on the board, but defensive adjustments need to be made moving forward.

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