By David Borne | Staff Writer
With less than two weeks before the Atlantic 10 Tournament, the Duquesne Dukes women’s basketball team improved its conference record to 7-6 with a dominant 70-51 win over Virginia Commonwealth University on Sunday at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
Sunday afternoon’s matchup was Senior Day for Duquesne. Prior to the game the team’s three seniors, Amadea Szamosi, Brianna Thomas and Erin Waskowiak, were honored.
Duquesne jumped on VCU right off the bat and took a 13-2 lead just four minutes into the first quarter. They finished the opening period up by a score of 29-6. Everything continued to go Duquesne’s way in the second quarter, and they took a 41-22 lead into halftime.
It’s easy for a team to sit back and relax after taking such a commanding lead so early in the game; however, Szamosi and her squad use that cushion as motivation to keep the intensity up, and value every minute of game action as a way to improve.
“When we are up so much, it is easier to push each other even more because it gives you all that confidence to keep going,” Szamosi said. “We’re never satisfied with any lead because we know there is such a long way still until the championships, so we need to keep improving and use every second to make each other better.”
Szamosi finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. It was the 20th double-double of her career.
Though Szamosi and the seniors were the ones getting the attention before the tip off, it was the team’s sophomore backcourt tandem that led the Dukes in scoring on Sunday.
Sophomore Julijana Vojinovic was the leading scorer for Duquesne, finishing the contest with 17 points. She also notched four assists and ended the game with three rebounds. Fellow sophomore Chassidy Omogrosso tied Szamosi’s point total, adding 13 points on a 5 of 11 shooting night from the field.
After a very quiet freshman season, Vojinovic has emerged as one of the team’s top scoring threats in the 2016-17 campaign. She is one of the team’s top three leading scorers, after averaging just a single point per game in her freshman season.
“I feel that I finally have been consistent on the court,” Vojinovic said. “I always have some games that are higher level than other, but I just try to work with myself, and say ‘Ok, lock in stay focussed. Coaches support me and my teammates.’ I just feel that when I’m on the court, it’s the right place to be. I feel great.”
Head coach Dan Burt has been very impressed by the way Vojinovic has been able to transition into the player she has become.
“With [Vojinovic] it’s a situation where she just needed confidence,” Burt said. “She’s oozing confidence at this point. She’s really confident in what her game is, and you can see it. She’s the person that can create on our team more than anyone. She can create for herself and for others. Last year was a big change for her, learning the culture and language and how we play, and gaining confidence. She’s been really good. Really, really good.”
Next on the schedule for Duquesne was a road battle with the conference-leading University of Dayton Flyers.
The Flyers cruised past the Dukes 66-47 thanks to 24 points from Lauren Cannatelli.
Sophomore Julijana Vojinovic led the Dukes with 11 points and five assists. However a 29-percent shooting night made it nearly impossible for Duquesne to keep up with Dayton on the scoreboard.
Road games have been a struggle for Duquesne all season as the team now has a 5-8 record in games away from the A.J. Palumbo Center.
The remaining games against Rhode Island and St. Bonaventure will determine seeding of the A-10 Tournament set to take place in Richmond, Virginia.