Women notch fourth conference win

Claire Murray | Asst. Photo Editor
Claire Murray | Asst. Photo Editor

Saúl Berríos-Thomas | Layout Editor

The Duquesne women’s basketball team recorded the program’s 501st win Wednesday night. The Dukes (12-6 overall, 4-1 Atlantic 10) extended their winning streak over the University of Massachusetts to eight with a 67-52 victory at the Palumbo Center.

Coach Dan Burt was pleased with the win.

“I feel pretty good about the way that we played tonight. I felt like we had lulls, but they only lasted for a minute and a half,” he said.

Burt was happy about the 500th win, but was ready to move on and add to the win total.

“Yeah, the 500th was very nice but we moved on 12:01 a.m. the next day,” he said

The first two possessions of the game told the story for the remaining 40 minutes. The Dukes forced a bad UMass shot as the shot clock ticked to zero. Then on offense, they got the ball inside to senior forward Wumi Agunbiade for an easy turnaround jumper.

A late first-half surge from the Minutewomen closed the gap to 10, but a strong start in the second-half by the Dukes ensured it would be the smallest gap from there on out.

The Dukes easily found their way around the Minutewomen’s full-court press. UMass could not find an answer to the Dukes’ size. That showed in the rebound battle as the Dukes out-rebounded UMass 35-27.
Agunbiade was pleased with the way the team dominated on the boards.

“That just shows us wanting to attack the basket and come up with big plays,” she said.

As usual, the Dukes were stingy on defense and turned 17 turnovers into 17 points on the other end of the floor.

Agunbiade recorded her 22nd career double-double after being named A-10 Player of the Week for the fifth time in her career on Monday. She finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds and went 4 for 4 from the free throw line.

Burt said the good play comes from her confidence.

“I think it comes back to confidence she is making her free throws, now which frees her up to be more aggressive,” he said.

The leader of the offense was freshman guard Olivia Bresnahan, who was able to create opportunities off the dribble whenever the team needed them. She attacked and finished near the rim, earning several trips to the line. She made UMass pay, knocking down 5 of 6 shots from from the charity stripe. She finished with 11 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds

Burt believed Bresnahan could perform at this level.

“[Bresnahan] gives us someone who can really create off the dribble which gives us penetration,” he said. “[Her] value we knew back in the summer … we saw that she was going to create for us.”

Bresnahan thrives off of the talent around her.

“It helps a lot because it racks up my assists a lot,” she joked.

She attributes the team’s chemistry to the work they did during in the offseason.

“I think this past summer since the coaches were allowed to work with us … it brought the team closer and I was able to work with them and get to know them,” she said.

Senior forward Orsi Szecsi recorded her 600th career rebound at the 13:01 mark of the first half. She finished the game with 7 points and 4 rebounds. Senior guard Raegan Moore was elite from behind the arc. She had a game-high 17 points on 4-8 shooting from three-point range and added 2 blocks.

Moore talked about developing her rhythm in game.

“It’s something that happens more so early in the game. If I miss a few early in the game I start to drive rather than to keep chucking up threes,” she said.

The Dukes will return to action again on Sunday, Jan. 18 when they play Rhode Island at the Palumbo Center at 2 p.m.