Luke Henne | Sports Editor
Jan. 13, 2022
Following two-straight losses to open Atlantic 10 Conference play, the Duquesne women’s basketball team used a 23-5 fourth quarter to defeat St. Bonaventure 63-44 and earn its first conference victory of the season at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.
The Dukes have now won nine of their last 10 meetings with the Bonnies and 10 straight home contests against St. Bonaventure, a streak that dates back to Feb. 7, 2013.
Duquesne used a balanced scoring attack in the game’s final quarter, getting scoring contributions from five different players to pull away and secure its first victory since Saint Francis (PA) in a non-conference game on Dec. 11.
Seven of the 23 fourth-quarter points came from Laia Sole, who attributed her team’s ability to pull away to their success from behind the 3-point line. After not hitting any outside shots in the first three quarters of the game, the Dukes hit four in the fourth quarter (one from Sole, one from Megan McConnell and two from Tess Myers).
“It’s very tough to win games when you shoot that poorly from the 3-point line, but our defense throughout the entire game kept us in,” Sole said. “So when you get stops on defense and are able to score a couple threes like we did in the fourth quarter, the game completely changes.”
Sole finished the game with 11 points, while also recording five rebounds and three assists. With Sole providing contributions in many aspects of the game, she knows that her efforts are essential for victory.
“I will do whatever the team needs me to do. Whether it’s scoring, assisting my teammates, rebounding or cheering for the girls,” Sole said. “I think all the girls want the same thing, which is to win games. So whatever role I have to take part in, I will do my best to embrace it.”
Fatou Pouye led the Dukes with 16 points in the win, scoring in double figures for the seventh-consecutive time. She said that the sustained success isn’t possible without the effort of her teammates.
“I give credit to my teammates for finding me on the floor in areas that I can score from,” Pouye said. “We have good chemistry and we put each other in positions to be successful.”
Pouye said that she and her teammates “are motivated by playing hard and having fun.”
“That’s what helped us create distance in the fourth quarter,” Pouye said. “As we continue conference play, we will continue to prepare, compete and have fun.”
After losing its first two A-10 games by a combined 10 points, including a four-point loss in overtime against VCU, Sole believes that such a convincing victory is huge after some narrow losses.
“There are obviously a lot of things this team can improve on, but one of the things that comes to my mind first is believing in ourselves,” Sole said. “We’ve had a bunch of close games this year that we lost last minute and that can most certainly be a confidence killer.”
Sole said that with each win comes a renewed sense of belief and optimism.
“I believe that my teammates and I will continue to gain more confidence as we win more games, while we [continue to] support each other through the inevitable ups and downs of the regular season.”
Duquesne will be back in action on Saturday, when it takes on Davidson in a road contest. The Dukes have lost two-straight meetings against the Wildcats.