Brentaro Yamane | Layout Editor
Jan. 27, 2022
Throughout this season, the Duquesne women’s basketball team has tried to overcome obstacles, whether in the form of getting players fully healthy or learning how to preserve leads later in games.
One obstacle that Duquesne has steered clear of for a long time is losing to George Mason. Since the Patriots joined the Atlantic 10 Conference prior to the 2013-14 season, the Dukes had never lost to them in nine tries entering Wednesday’s contest.
Duquesne was able to extend its winning streak against George Mason to 10-straight games with a 67-55 victory on Wednesday night at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.
“Obviously, we’re happy to get the win,” Head Coach Dan Burt said. “We have beaten [George] Mason a fair amount over the years, and we told our kids that this is not the Mason team that anyone knows.
“These are all new kids. They don’t know the history of the series. They’re scrappy, tough and gritty and they were going to give us their best shot and they did.”
After the Dukes held a 37-29 edge at halftime, the Patriots kept it close, starting the third quarter on a 6-0 run to trim their deficit to just two points.
The Patriots took their first lead of the game at the 2:28 mark of the third quarter, when Paula Suarez made a free throw to give the Patriots a 43-42 advantage.
However, a successful 3-pointer from Tess Myers near the end of the third quarter gave the Dukes a 47-46 lead.
From there, the Dukes never looked back, as they outscored the Patriots by a 20-9 mark in the final quarter to secure a double-digit victory. Myers, who led Duquesne with 15 points, made the shots down when it mattered most.
“You can’t criticize any of the shots that she took tonight. It just took her a little while to get warm,” Burt said. “She had open looks, and they were all good shots.
“You just got to keep letting kids who can really shoot it shoot themselves out of a little slump, which is what she had earlier in the game.”
One of Duquesne’s strengths in the victory was the ability to limit George Mason’s top scorer. Amaya Scott entered the game averaging 18.6 points per game, but the Dukes were able to hold her to just 10.
Burt considered this a good night. In his preparation for Wednesday’s game, he said that he and his staff classified Scott as “arguably the most-athletic player in the league.”
As the season progresses, the Dukes are starting to fit into their respective roles. Libby Bazelak, who gets the team going in transition, possesses a key strength that Burt acknowledged.
Libby made just one of nine shots from the field, scoring two points in the win. While the box score reflected a lackluster performance, Burt disagreed with that notion.
He said that Bazelak’s ability to “break pressure” was crucial because “[they’re] best when [they] don’t have to run sets and can play in transition and play with some freedom.”
“She was the best player on the floor to do that,” Burt said. “She was excellent getting the ball below the free-throw line in transition.”
Duquesne will look to extend its winning streak to three consecutive games on Sunday afternoon, when it hosts LaSalle at the fieldhouse.
The Explorers ended the Dukes’ 2020-21 season with a 72-68 overtime victory in the second round of the A-10 tournament.