By David Borne | Staff Writer
Behind the efforts of senior Amadea Szamosi and sophomore Julijana Vojinovic, the Duquesne Dukes picked apart the Saint Louis Billikens on Wednesday night and ended up winning 94-65, their largest margin of victory in the 2016-17 campaign.
Wednesday’s game was International Night at the Palumbo Center, a celebration of the team’s nine foreign players. Flags of the six countries represented on Duquesne’s roster were on display behind the baskets on both baselines.
Before the season, the Dukes were projected to finish second in the Atlantic 10, behind only St. Louis. That may have lit a fire under the Duquesne squad, who put together an impressive 55-25 lead at the half.
Coach Dan Burt had nothing but positive things to say after his team’s performance against the Billikens.
“To say that I’m proud of my team is an understatement,” Burt said. “Tonight certainly showed that we can compete at the highest level, and frankly this is the first night where we’ve done it for four quarters and have done it exceptionally well. The amount of 50/50 balls that we won, the amount of diving on the floor and boxing out really well, those kind of stats were just amazing tonight.”
Szamosi, one of the three Hungarian players on the Dukes’ roster, ended the night with a double-double for the team and led the team in scoring with a season-high 27 points. Szamosi was just one point short of matching her career-high (28) which she recorded at Buffalo last season. She managed to pull down 10 boards as well. It was the 17th double-double for Szamosi in her time at Duquesne.
Vojinovic recorded her career-high in points, ending the night with 24 points and shooting 8-11 from the field. Vojinovic is the lone Serbian on the roster.
Coach Burt was beyond impressed by the sophomore’s performance on International Night.
“We can talk about [Vojinovic’s] brilliance. And it was brilliance,” Burt said. “Julijana looked absolutely fantastic. That little bounce pass off the screen and roll, you’re not going to see anything nicer in college basketball. I’m really happy about our performance against a very well coached and very good basketball team.
The Red & Blue also managed to limit St. Louis to just a 24 percent shooting day from beyond the arc. Shooting from range is usually a big aspect of the Billikens’ game, and the ability to limit that played a large role in the blowout.
“They have a lot of kids that can shoot the perimeter shot,” Burt said. “We knew tonight that we would have to play a lot of good one-on-one defense and we weren’t going to get a lot of help. We really did a good job of defending one-on-one.”
Also worth noting on the defensive end, Duquesne limited one of the top players in the Atlantic 10, Jackie Kemph, to just four points on 1-6 shooting on the night in her 30 minutes of action.
While it’s important for a team to focus on not getting too high on the wins or too low on their losses, Szamosi and the Dukes look to carry the momentum from this game into their upcoming matchups.
“We give our best every single game and we see how big of a difference it makes if we practice hard, and if we focus and just do the same thing that we’ve been talking about,” Szamosi said. “If we keep reminding each other and encouraging each other then we are always successful.”
Duquesne will hit the road and travel to take on St. Bonaventure on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Bonnies currently sit at 6-12 on the season, and the Dukes will look to continue their hot streak against a struggling team.