By Andrew Holman | Sports Editor
Physicality and hustle propelled the Duquesne women’s basketball team to a 73-61 win over the University of Richmond Spiders on Wednesday night at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
The Dukes out-rebounded the Spiders 44-25 and outscored them in the paint 30-14. Senior Amadea Szamosi and sophomore Julijana Vojinovic each scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the victory. The win improved Duquesne’s record to 11-11 overall and 4-5 within the Atlantic 10 conference.
“When you outscore your opposition by 16 in the paint, you feel really good about that,” Burt said. “I thought we rebounded the ball well. As a coach, we won three of the quarters, but it is just one of those things that is very difficult when you have 21 turnovers.”
The first quarter was dominated by the Spiders defensively as they recorded four steals and forced nine turnovers by the Dukes. Duquesne averaged 15 turnovers per game heading into the night and they were already nearly two-thirds of the way there with three quarters remaining.
To go along with their scrappy defense, Richmond went 4-8 from behind the arc, which propelled them to their 18-13 lead after the first quarter.
Entering the contest, the Spiders boasted the second-best scoring defense in the A-10 conference allowing 58.1 points per game. However, after the first quarter the Red & Blue found their rhythm offensively on their way to a 73-point scoring outburst.
In the second quarter, the Dukes came out hot and their shooting helped them close the gap. Back-to-back triples from Szamosi and Vojinovic knotted the game up at 21-21 with a little over a minute gone in the second quarter.
However, the turnovers came back to haunt the Dukes once again. Three more turnovers in the opening minutes of the second quarter allowed the Spiders to pull back in front to lead 28-23 at the media break.
But, with 3:47 left before halftime, Vojinovic knocked down another 3-point basket to give Duquesne a 29-28 advantage — their first lead since the 6:43 mark in the opening quarter. The basket was part of an 8-0 scoring run for the Dukes and a part of Vojinovic’s 13-point scoring outbreak in the first half.
“You could almost say [Vojinovic] is our second or even main scoring threat the way she has played as of late,” Burt said. “She shot the ball well from every spot on the floor … She is playing with a lot of confidence, and when [Vojinovic] is playing with confidence, then she is playing in the flow and she is just as good as about anyone in the league.”
Vojinovic has now scored in double digits in five straight games and has solidfied herself as a top scorer for Duquesne to go along with Szamosi and sophomore Chassidy Omogrosso. Omogrosso matched her teammates with 17 points in the scoring column. Senior Janelle Hubbard led Richmond with 20 points.
Then with under a minute to play in the opening half, Richardson attacked the glass with authority and redirected an offensive rebound back into the basket, while being fouled, to make it a 3-point play for the Dukes. Following a pair of free throws by Omogrosso, the Dukes took to the locker room with a 36-33 lead.
After the break, it was a back-and-forth affair most of the way in the third quarter, but with continued dominance on the glass and exceptional effort diving for loose balls, Duquesne began to slowly pull away with a 10-2 run that pushed their lead to 52-41 and was capped off by an and-one from sophomore Kadri Ann Lass.
“I just feel like everyone was fighting and going to the glass,” Vojinovic said. “We tried to pass to post players as much as we can to get post-touches … I think those two factors were really important in our win.”
Leading by nine heading into the final quarter, the Dukes just needed to keep up their effort and composure in order to walk away with the victory — they did just that.
After the Spiders cut it to 54-48, Richardson once again drove strong to the hoop and capitalized on an and-one opportunity to bring the energy back into the Palumbo Center. After another scoring surge, the Dukes went back ahead by double digits where they remained for rest of the game.
“We just kind of wore them down,” Burt said. “Our sets really caused them some issues.”
The defending Atlantic 10 Champion George Washington Colonials await the Dukes this coming Sunday in Washington, D.C. for their second meeting of the season. The Colonials bested the Dukes 75-40 in their first meeting since the A-10 Tournament final in 2016.
“I know we will be motivated to play them and that is going to be a heck of a basketball game in Washington D.C.,” Burt said.