Benjamin Gottschalk | Staff Writer
Jan. 26, 2023
The Duquesne women’s basketball team went 1-1 in two contests this week, falling at home to Davidson on Sunday afternoon before winning on the road against Dayton Wednesday night.
Tess Myers hit six 3-pointers and shot 50% from behind the arc, but it wasn’t enough for the Dukes to survive the Wildcats’ offense in a 66-65 loss Sunday.
Duquesne fell behind early, but was able to go on a run toward the end of the first quarter to take the lead. The Dukes started off 0-for-4 from behind the arc, but hit three 3-pointers to close the first quarter, including a buzzer-beating shot from Tess Myers.
“I knew we had to get a stop, so my hands were right there, and I got the ball,” Duquesne guard Megan McConnell said. “I dribbled all the way down, and I heard Tess say, ‘Right here. Right here,’ so I just pitched it to her, and she hit a huge shot, and it got everyone going. This game was full of swings, and Davidson had their fair share of them, but that was ours.”
That Duquesne lead didn’t last long, as Davidson would use the second quarter to not only regain the lead, but to go up by double digits (41-31) at halftime. Davidson’s Issy Morgan was a key contributor to that lead, as 16 of her 20 points came in the first half.
“We didn’t expect her to do that, and she played really well,” said Duquesne Head Coach Dan Burt. “She made some big shots and, again, mental breakdowns on our end. You have to give the kid credit. She had a very good half.”
The Dukes trailed for the entirety of the third quarter, but managed to cut the lead to just 4 points heading into the fourth quarter.
With 3:06 remaining in the game, the Dukes regained the lead in what was the beginning of a nail-biting finish. Myers hit a 3-pointer to put Duquesne up 59-56, and Davidson’s Maddie Plank answered with a 3-pointer of her own to tie it at 59 with 2:37. Myers would then hit another shot from beyond the arc to put Duquesne up 62-59 with 1:53 to go.
Plank cut Davidson’s lead to 1 with a made layup with 1:12 to go, and hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with a hand in her face to put the Wildcats up 64-62 with 16 seconds remaining.
With the game on the line, Duquesne looked to who else but Myers. She ran to the corner, gathered and sunk a 3-pointer while also getting fouled. She could not convert on the 4-point play, but her shot gave Duquesne a 65-64 edge with 8 seconds in the game.
“We have been in this position before, we’re a veteran team,” McConnell said. “Tess was able to knock down a huge shot. We have run that play a couple of times before in close games, and we have been able to get it.”
At the other end of the court Elle Sutphin, who leads the Wildcats in both points per game and rebounds per game, was fouled and went to the free-throw line. She hit both free throws to put the Wildcats back up by 1 point with 2 seconds left to go.
The Dukes inbounded it to Ayanna Townsend. She backed down her defender and took a turn-around jump shot, but it rimmed out as the buzzer sounded, handing Duquesne just its second home loss of the season.
While a loss like that is a hard one to forget, Burt said, “We’ll be prepared when we play on Wednesday.”
“Obviously, we can’t dwell on it too much,” Myers said. “But we have to take away our mistakes, learn from them and focus on the practices going forward.”
“This one definitely hurt,” McConnell said. “We will take more time for this one because it was a winnable game. We needed to win that at home.”
In Wednesday’s contest, the Dukes erased a 19-point deficit, defeating Dayton 87-79 at UD Arena. Duquesne trailed 30-16 at the end of the first quarter and 39-20 with 6:41 to go, but began chipping away at the Flyers’ lead.
From that point forward, Duquesne used a 19-3 run to cut Dayton’s deficit to 3 (42-39) heading into the locker room.
After Dayton hit a jumper to go up 46-41 with 8:38 to go in the third quarter, a 12-0 run from the Dukes put them up 53-46, and they never looked back. The Flyers never came any closer than 4 points down for the rest of the game.
Myers led all scorers with 23 points, while McConnell added 16 of her own.
The Dukes will be back in action Sunday afternoon, when they host UMass.