Joey Sykes | The Duquesne Duke
The Duquesne women’s basketball squad proved Saturday afternoon that a bad loss can be shaken off quite easily. After falling to the George Washington Colonials 83-56 last Wednesday, the Red & Blue bounced back against Davidson University and never let up. The team’s flat out dominating play resulted in an 83-47 win over the Wildcats.
Four plays scored 10 or more points in the lopsided victory over their fellow Atlantic 10 opponent.
On Wednesday night, the Dukes hit the road to face St. Bonaventure and won 76-63. Junior guard April Robinson led the team in scoring with 20 points, in addition to four rebounds and three steals.
With the win, the Dukes improved to 5-3 in the Atlantic 10 and 13-8 overall with eight games to go in conference play.
Four Dukes scored 10 or more points in the lopsided win over Davidson. Junior guards Deva’Nyar Workman and April Robinson added 17 and 14 points respectively, while senior guards Belma Nurkic and Olivia Bresnahan combined for another 22 points.
From the opening tip-off, the Wildcats were unable to find a crack in the Dukes’ defense. In the first five minutes of the game, the Red & Blue held the opposition to 2-of-7 shooting and led 46-32 heading into the locker room after the first half.
In the second half, the Wildcats shot just 20 percent from the field and sank only 2 of their final 16 shots. At one point in the final two minutes, the Dukes led by as many as 36 points.
“Today is a day where I am really happy with our performance on the offensive end,” coach Dan Burt said. “We shot the ball very well. Overall, to put four people in double figures and have two others with nine [sophomore forward Amadea Szamosi] and eight points [senior center Jose-Ann Johnson] respectively, I feel really good about that.”
The Dukes have struggled over the past few games to maintain their big leads in the second half. Last week against Saint Louis and Saint Joseph’s, the team fought off late-game scares that could have ended in devastating conference losses. The ability to maintain the intensity over two halves is something Robinson believes the team needed to work on to eliminate those second half breakdowns.
“I think it starts with practice,” Robinson said. “We try to go a whole 2-hour practice and then we try to bring it over to the game and try to play the 40 minutes hard. Sometimes there’s collapses and you have to find ways to overcome that.”
Johnson agreed that the Dukes’ ability to play a full game starts in practice.
“Coach always says ‘play 40 minutes’ and even in practice we have to go two hours,” Johnson said. “Sometimes we have lapses and we have to get on that as soon as possible.”
In the win, Robinson recorded her 300th career assist, while the Dukes tied the program’s longest winning streak at home since 2011-12 with seven wins.
Going forward, Burt stressed how important the team’s next two conference matchups are. The Dukes, who will be on the road for the next two games, will head to upstate New York for a matchup against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (11-9, 1-6 A-10) this Wednesday and then will travel to the Big Apple to face the Fordham University Rams (14-6, 6-1 A-10) on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“Up next are two very challenging games,” Burt said. “Both are very well coached teams that present different styles. These next two games are very critical.”
As it stands right now, the Dukes are tied with VCU and Rhode Island for fifth place in the A-10 standings. The Dukes will return to the Palumbo Center on Feb. 7 for a game against Virginia Commonwealth University before heading back on the road for another two games against La Salle and the University of Massachusetts.