Dukes lose in final minutes

Claire Murray | Asst. Photo Editor
Claire Murray | Asst. Photo Editor

Saúl Berríos-Thomas | Layout Editor

The Dukes once again dug themselves a hole early in the second half. On Wednesday night at the A.J. Palumbo Center they could not find a way back out.

All season they have struggled to play a consistent game throughout. They usually have been able to withstand the runs of opponents early in the second half, but that is not a sustainable strategy.

Senior guard Raegan Moore said the mind set changes as soon as there is a hint of trouble.

“We start playing trying not to lose instead of playing to win,” she said.

Senior forward Orsi Szecsi was bewildered by the change in the team.

“We couldn’t stop them,” she said.

The 80-68 loss to George Washington comes at a very bad time for the Dukes. They had just made their way onto the list of teams receiving votes for the USA Today National Coaches Poll. They were in first place in Atlantic 10. With a group of strong teams right on their heels this loss could cost the Dukes the top seed in the A10 tournament.

Head coach Dan Burt was disappointed.

“This is a very disappointing loss because of everything we had built up during that seven-game winning streak,” he said.

The remaining schedule for the Dukes is tough. In their final six games they will face the top four teams in the conference. With only three home games left they will have to beat the best teams in the Atlantic 10 at those team’s courts to even maintain a top spot in the conference.

They have struggled with injuries all season, and a loss like this means they have to play hard in every game from here on out. Although some of the player feel like the toughness of practice does not help them regain their health.

The Dukes led by 10 at one point, but run by George Washington wiped out that lead early in the second half. George Washington captured the lead at 10:01 of the second half and they did not surrender it for the remainder of the game.

The Dukes only managed to score eight points in the final eight minutes of the game. They could not find an answer. The usually dominant Wumi Agunbiade struggled and did not even reach the double-digit point mark. The Dukes could not find an answer on the bench as only two players came off the bench junior guard Belma Nurkic for four minutes and junior forward Jose-Ann Johnson for three.

One mantra the Dukes use is ‘this is a game of runs.’ The Dukes have struggled with stopping the early second half run from the opponent all year. The players even struggle with it in practice.

“It’s the same way in practice we will play hard in the first half of practice and then in the second half we just shut down,” Moore said.

The Dukes hope to leave the loss behind them as they look towards Dayton.

“We drown in our sorrows until midnight … and then we focus on the next opponent,” Burt said.

The Dukes play Dayton at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Palumbo Center.