Women’s basketball beats Fordham on Senior Night

David Borne \ Sports Editor
David Borne \ Sports Editor | Seniors (left to right) Nina Aho, Paige Cannon and Anglela Staffileno pose with friends and family.

David Borne | Sports Editor

Feb. 27, 2020

After a tough loss to George Washington on Saturday, Duquesne’s women’s basketball found a way to right the ship against Fordham on Tuesday at the UPMC Events Center.

Tuesday’s game was Duquesne’s Senior Night, and Angela Stafileno, Nina Aho and Paige Cannon were honored in a ceremony before the game.

The seniors’ last regular season “home” contest could not have gone better — as the Dukes (18-10, 8-7) pulled out a 74-63 win over the best defensive team in the conference.

“We know that we did not play well in the second half against George Washington. It was super disappointing, but we also knew we had to move forward,” Cannon said. “We all had a chip on our shoulder for this next game because we lost the last game, and because of what happened last year [against Fordham] too. It was just a really exciting game for all of us.”

As Cannon referenced, Duquesne’s last time out against the Rams resulted in a brutal 76-34 loss at the A.J. Palumbo Center.

This year’s result could not have been any more different.

The Red and Blue finished the night shooting 50% from the floor. Libby Bazelak led the team in scoring with 21 points. Laia Sole ended her night right behind Bazelak, with 20 points of her own.

Cannon made the most of her Senior Night, posting 15 points and grabbing a team-high 15 rebounds.

In total, eight different Dukes finished the night with a field goal.

Duquesne Head Coach Dan Burt noted that the win was probably his team’s most complete performance of the season. Every Duke that saw the floor made an impact, with contributions coming on both ends of the court.

“We had 21 assists on 27 buckets. That’s team basketball,” Burt said. “And to only have 13 turnovers, that’s a really good night.”

Aho echoed Burt’s words, and added that when a few of her teammates get going, it makes it easier for everybody else to get in on the action.

“It was a team effort,” Aho said. “So when Paige hit one, then Libby hit one, then Amanda [Kalin] hit one, then Laia hit one, it gets everybody going. It was such a team effort.”

The win increased Duquesne’s odds at hosting a game in the first round of the A-10 Tournament. Burt mentioned that he’s content with playing in the first round, as opposed to getting a bye. The game will allow his team to stay sharp before heading to Dayton for the rest of the tournament, if they advance that far.

It’s evident that the league is wide open this season, and the Dukes’ win on Tuesday was just another example of that.

The Dukes seem to be hitting their stride at the right time, but nothing is guaranteed in March.

“The handshakes after [games] with coaches, every conversation has been ‘It’s that year. Anybody can win the Atlantic 10 Championship’, Burt said. “It’s going to make for a really exciting week of basketball. Whoever gets to Dayton — boy it’s going to be a lot of fun.”