Women’s basketball advances in WNIT

Addison Smith | Opinions Editor

Amadea Szamosi may have not recorded a point in the Duquesne women’s basketball team’s 48-47 victory over the University of Richmond in the second round of the WNIT, but finished the game as the most valuable player.

Szamosi used her quick basketball smarts to draw a charging foul with 0.7 seconds remaining in the game. Micaela Parson hit a quick lay-up, but knocked Szamosi down in the process. The basket did not count and the A.J. Palumbo Center erupted into cheers.

Head coach Dan Burt said that Szamosi’s sacrifice was more crucial to the win than a basket or five.

“Amadea Szamosi’s charge at the end of the game was worth ten, 12 or 14 points maybe,” Burt said. “That’s a heck of a basketball play, a high IQ savvy basketball play, and we found a way to win again.”

This is the Red & Blue’s first appearance in the Sweet Sixteen of the WNIT since the 2010-2011 season. The past two years, they were eliminated in the second round twice.

But junior guard April Robinson, who finished the game with 15 points, five rebounds and two assists, said that losing isn’t something she and the Dukes think about, even when they lost a 40-25 lead and had to fight for the win down the stretch.

“Losing is never on our minds,” Robinson said. “I heard this the other day from a player in the NCAA Tournament, they said, ‘as long as there is time on the clock, it’s anybody’s game.’ It was a battle, but we came out on top, but losing is never on our minds.”

Leading the Dukes were Robinson with 15 points and five rebounds and Deva’Nyar Workman with seven points and seven rebounds. Burt reiterated that his team doesn’t have one star player, but instead has a collection of depth players, any of whom can step up and be the star for the evening.

Only one player, April Robinson, scored in double digits for the Red & Blue. What the box score doesn’t show is the consistency and versatility the Dukes displayed down the roster. Senior guard Olivia Bresnahan only scored six points, but did her part on the boards by grabbing eight rebounds. Deva’Nyar Workman scored seven points, but helped wipe the glass alongside Bresnahan with seven boards. And Belma Nurkic did a little bit of everything, scoring eight points to go with four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

As a team, the Dukes outrebounded the Spiders 37-30 and shot 35 percent from the field. More importantly, the Red & Blue sank 12-of-13 free throws.

This win propels this senior class of Olivia Bresnahan, Stasia King, Jose-Ann Johnson and Belma Nurkic to another game, something Nurkic said she is thankful for.

“I think it’s pretty awesome [to get to play another game]. I love the team I’m on right now, I love every single one of them,” Nurkic said. “I know that none of them want the season to end. I feel like just by us having that passion and will to not want to lose, we’re going to make it real far. So I’m excited to keep going.”

The Dukes take on the West Virginia University Mountaineers tonight at 7 p.m. in Morgantown, West Virginia. The Red & Blue lost 79-60 to the Mountaineers at the beginning of the season, but WVU’s energy has faded throughout the year. The Dukes last upended WVU two years ago 62-54, when the Mountaineers were ranked No. 20 in the country.

The Mountaineers have routed both opponents in their first two games in the tournament. On March 19, they downed Buffalo 84-61, and then cruised past Hampton 57-39 on Tuesday night to earn a matchup with Duquesne. The winner will advance to face either St. John’s or Villanova in the quarterfinals this weekend.