Spencer Thomas | Staff Writer
Dec. 2, 2021
Precious Johnson and Fatou Pouye each netted 19 points to help Duquesne put away Canisius 69-60 at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse on Wednesday afternoon.
The Dukes opened with a flying start, leading 21-12 after the first quarter. The 21 points in the opening frame tied Duquesne’s second-highest scoring period in a quarter all season.
The defense stiffened toward the end of the first as well, forcing a series of turnovers that translated to made shots on the other end. Duquesne closed the second quarter on an 11-2 run and took a 39-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Dukes’ offense had great success moving the ball around in the first half, recording 14 assists. On the flipside, the Golden Griffins were able to muster just four assists in the first two quarters.
Duquesne finished the game with 20 assists, with 10 of them coming from Megan McConnell, who finished just one point shy of a double-double.
Johnson made eight of her nine field-goal attempts. Her performance was punctuated by a three-point play with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter, when she drew the foul and made the basket from the post position, the spot on the floor where she generated most of her scoring throughout the day.
Head Coach Dan Burt was not surprised by the sophomore’s season high in scoring.
“I’m not going to give her a cupcake,” Burt said. “There’s no celebration there. I thought she played a great game today. But she did exactly what she’s expected to do.”
Burt emphasized Duquesne’s dramatic height advantage over Canisius, which was ultimately put to good use. The Dukes finished the game with a 37-27 advantage on the boards.
The victory also saw the first basket of Halle Bovell’s return to the court after two years sidelined by injury. She hit a 3-pointer with 2:37 left in the first half, marking the first points she’d scored in 998 days.
It was a special moment for her, one that many experts were skeptical would even happen, with Burt referring to her even being on the court as a “miracle”.
While expressing her gratitude for the moment, Bovell also said that she expects it to be one she continues to replicate throughout the campaign.
“Hopefully, I’ll have some more in the next game and just kind of string it along,” Bovell said. “It’s been a long journey, but I love basketball, I love Duquesne, and I love my teammates. I just want to go out there and help our team win.”
Despite the 16-point advantage at halftime, the Dukes left the door open for the Golden Griffins to make a comeback. Canisius’ offense found greater success against Duquesne in the second half. The Golden Griffins shot 44% from the field in the third quarter, while also hitting five threes in the final frame.
Burt expressed his frustration with the lackluster second-half performance, while making sure to note that his players were holding themselves accountable.
“I walked back into a locker room that made me feel really good,” Burt said. “It was dead silent. People were not happy. That’s the way it needs to be. We’ll take the win, but our performance was not up to the standard it needs to be.
“If we’re going to be a good basketball program and reach our goals, it is going to be with people that are ultra-competitive.”
Duquesne will look for its fourth consecutive win on Sunday, when it hosts Temple.