WBB loses second in a row, falls to URI

Brentaro Yamane | Staff Writer | Duquesne’s Libby Bazelak looks on during a 3-point attempt in Wednesday’s 10-point loss.

Brentaro Yamane | Staff Writer

Jan. 20, 2022

Since Tammi Reiss got the head coaching job at Rhode Island back in 2019, one of the things that she could never accomplish was beating Duquesne.

She no longer has to worry about that.

In order to stay at the top of the Atlantic 10 Conference standings, the Rams knew they’d have to defeat the Dukes in Pittsburgh for the first time since Jan. 12, 2007.

“I always come to this place and [Duquesne Head Coach] Dan [Burt] gets our number,” Reiss said. “They compete and give us a lot of matchup problems, and it feels good for the first time to beat Duquesne because we never did before.”

Behind a team-high 19 points and five assists from Dez Elmore, the Rams defeated the Dukes by a 67-57 mark to push their winning streak to seven consecutive games.

The start was far from perfect for Rhode Island. At the 3:08 mark of the first quarter, the team trailed 11-2, its biggest deficit on the evening. For Elmore, just four of her 19 points came during the first half.

Reiss was proud of the way her team responded despite falling behind.

“I’m really proud of the squad, they [Duquesne] jumped on us early and gave it to us,” Reiss said. “We weren’t quite ready to compete, but we battled and persevered.”

Besides Elmore, Chanell Williams (14), Marie-Paule Foppossi (14) and Emmanuelle Tahane (10) also scored in double figures for Rhode Island.

The loss prevented Burt from winning his 14th game against the Rams in 16 tries since taking over at Duquesne. Burt now has a 13-3 record against the Rams.

The Dukes shot 23-for-57 (40.4%) from the field and only had four free-throw attempts on the night (Rhode Island had 15).

“When you shoot four free throws for the entire game, that tells that you have passivity, and we didn’t help ourselves by driving the ball more in the game,” Burt said.

Tess Myers led the Dukes with 11 points in the game, while five other different players on the team scored exactly eight points. Libby Bazelak was one of those five players, and she also had a game-high seven assists. No other player from either team had more than five assists.

Finishing games is something that Burt has addressed to his team numerous times, but the message has not seemed to have fully translated yet.

At the end of the third quarter of Wednesday’s game the Dukes only trailed by two (44-42), but were outscored 23-15 in the final quarter.

Myers hit a 3-point shot as time expired at the end of the second quarter to trim the team’s deficit to 31-28 going into halftime.

The Dukes have now lost six games by six points or fewer this season. With the conference slate continuing to progress, Burt said he hopes tonight’s loss can be a “tipping point,” with his players using the close loss as a source of motivation moving forward.

“I really do believe we’re the best 6-11 team in the country. We’ve been in just about every single game,” Burt said. “Outside of the first week of the season, we lost by a couple of possessions or fewer and we’re still trying to correct things.

“We’ve got a very young group with some very experienced veterans that are playing through significant health issues. I’m still very proud of them, and I come to work everyday excited about the positivity around those kids.”

Duquesne will be back in action on Saturday, when it travels west for a road game against Saint Louis. The Dukes and Billikens last met on Jan. 26, 2020, when SLU defeated Duquesne by a 53-50 mark.