David Borne | Staff Writer
Feb. 13, 2019
Following most losses this season, Dan Burt has given the same message: His team did not play physically enough to win the ball game.
His opening statement Wednesday afternoon following his team’s 67-63 loss against Saint Louis echoed those that same sentiment.
“The game was lost with our lack of physicality, our lack of energy and what that is is missing layups, not talking on defense and understanding personnel, as well — and turning the ball over,” Burt said.
With the loss, Duquesne fell to 12-12 on the season and 6-5 in Atlantic 10 play.
Saint Louis (12-13, 7-5) carried a three-point lead into the locker room at halftime. Coming out of the break, the Billikens got hot from the field and took a commanding lead. Senior guard Jordyn Frantz led the charge, scoring 15 points in the third quarter alone.
Down by 11 heading into the fourth quarter, the Red & Blue managed to crawl their way back and make the game interesting.
A deep bucket from senior Kadri-Ann Lass brought Duquesne within four with 4:07 left on the clock. Fellow senior Chassidy Omogrosso hit two free throws to narrow the deficit, and two more from sophomore Libby Bazelak knotted the score at 61 with 1:27 left in the contest.
With time winding down, and the Billikens up 66-63, the Dukes had an opportunity to draw up a play and potentially tie the game again. They were unable to get a shot off though, as redshirt junior Paige Cannon was whistled for a foul immediately following the inbound pass.
Saint Louis hit one more free throw on their ensuing trip to the line, and ultimately it came out victorious.
Frantz finished as the game’s leading scorer with 24 points. On top of her remarkable scoring stretch in third quarter, Frantz helped bury Duquesne late in the game. She had three points in the game’s final 68 seconds, which proved to be the difference-maker.
Burt noted that he was disappointed with his team’s weak showing, and specifically their reluctance to drive to the lane. Coming off of a dominant victory over a solid Dayton team, plus two good practices, he believed his team had turned a page.
“Playing tough is an everyday thing,” Burt said. “Playing tough is… when you’re not making shots, you still have that level of aggression, physicality and determination. We have certain people that don’t have that.”
Toughness was not the only thing Duquesne lacked on Wednesday afternoon. They also couldn’t get anything going from deep, and finished 4-19 from 3-point range. The long-ball has been a struggle for Duquesne all season long, and their issues continued in Wednesday’s letdown.
With the loss, Duquesne and Saint Louis switched places in the Atlantic 10 standings. Also, the Billikens now hold the tiebreaker over the Dukes.
Even in a losing effort, there were a couple of positives to take away for Duquesne. Bazelak led Duquesne in points, finishing the afternoon with a season-high of 14.
Along with Bazelak’s efforts, redshirt sophomore Laia Sole held her own on both ends of the floor. Sole’s minutes this season have been limited as a result of defensive inconsistency, but she had a more complete showing against the Billikens.
In just 20 minutes, Sole grabbed ten rebounds, had three blocks and finished with three steals. It’s well known that she can get buckets offensively, and she reminded Dukes fans of that once again with a 10-point showing, shooting 5-7 from the field.
The Dukes will be back in action at 1 p.m on Saturday as they take on the Rhode Island Rams at the Ryan Center in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. The Rams are off to another brutal start in Atlantic 10 play this year with a record of just 2-9.
There are still a handful of games left in the season, but the game against the Rams is a must-win for Duquesne. Rhode Island is annually a cellar-dweller in the conference, and the Dukes have to get the job done in South Kingstown.
Of course, even a team with two wins can never be taken too lightly. Duquesne will need to bring the energy and fight that Burt has been looking for, or the Rams may make them pay.