Spencer Thomas | Staff Writer
Feb. 3, 2022
The Duquesne women’s basketball team was busy with a pair of Atlantic 10 Conference games this week, hosting La Salle on Sunday before traveling to Dayton on Wednesday.
Sunday was a day of milestones for Duquesne’s Libby Bazelak. The graduate student from Kettering, Ohio, notched a triple-double and scored her 1,000th-career point to help lead the Dukes to a commanding 67-48 victory over the Explorers.
Despite Bazelak’s career day, it was Tess Myers who sparked the Dukes early. Myers, — who finished with a team-high 20 points — nailed four shots from beyond the arc in the first half. Her four successful makes from deep in the first half were more than the Explorers had as a team (three).
After coming out for the second half with a 10-point (35-25) lead, the Dukes had enough energy to put the game away. Megan McConnell was able to snatch the ball from a La Salle player and fly to the other end for an easy fast-break layup on several occasions.
Her tenacious defense helped her finish the contest with five steals, while also helping the Dukes boast an 18-0 advantage in fast-break points.
Burt singled out her performance.
“She loves to get up in you and play you really tight. And smile while she’s doing it. She’s annoying,” Burt said, laughing.
The ball movement also separated the two teams, as Duquesne finished with a season-best 22 assists (compared to nine from La Salle).
“We needed the ball to hum,” Burt said. “We needed to catch it in triple threat and make it move, attack space with a purpose and find the next pass.”
As Bazelak approached her triple-double, a murmur came over a restless crowd each time she possessed the ball. Her teammates were eager to pass it back to her for the achievement.
Bazelak’s all-important assist came when she passed the ball to Precious Johnson, who made a layup with just over one minute to go in the game. Bazelak received a round of applause from the fans and a miniature mobbing from her teammates.
Despite the encouraging performance from Bazelak, Burt’s postgame comments also reflected a deep satisfaction with the performance at the other end of the floor.
“We had a really great game today,” Burt said. “We defended probably the best we have all year. Our goal was to hold them to 59 on the defensive end.”
The victory allowed Duquesne to take a three-game winning streak — something the team had accomplished just one other time so far this season — into Wednesday’s game.
It briefly seemed like the Dukes would be able to shock the Flyers, who entered the game flashing a 16-3 record. Burt’s continuous harping on the team’s defensive performance was paying dividends early.
The Dukes held a 30-25 halftime lead and kept their five-point advantage entering the final quarter. However, the lineup ran out of gas, with only two players coming off of the bench in the entire game.
Dayton outscored Duquesne 17-6 in the final frame, with the Dukes failing to score in the final 3:43.
Dayton kept its offense hot, penetrating a tired defense en route to a 60-54 victory that saw the Flyers consistently cash in on jump shots and layups.
A glaring flaw in the Dukes’ performance came on the boards. They were outrebounded 47-24, which led to them being outscored 32-20 in the paint and 15-0 on second-chance points.
Duquesne will look to avenge the loss on Saturday afternoon, when it hosts Fordham.