Women’s basketball winning on a streak

Brentaro Yamane | Multimedia Editor| Megan McConnell led Duquesne with 20 points on Wednesday.

Rowan DuBois | Staff Writer 

Duquesne’s women’s basketball stayed hot this week, and have won eight of their last nine games, defeating La Salle 57-52 on Saturday, and St. Bonaventure on Wednesday by a score of 66-50.

Given that St. Bonaventure only has one conference win all season, the weekend’s game versus the Explorers was the more intense of the two. The Dukes attacked the paint in the first quarter, feeding the ball to Precious Johnson and Ayanna Townsend. It looked as though the Dukes might generate a lead, but La Salle stayed in the game hitting four 3s in the quarter. Two of those 3s came from Jolene Armendariz in the last minute, giving La Salle the lead to end the quarter 14-13.

The second quarter was a physical battle, as La Salle sent the Dukes to the line five times. The Explorers continued to make tough shots despite hounding defense from Duquesne.

“LaSalle kind of plays a different style of play that we’re not really used to,” Lauren Wasylson said. “I think that shook us up a little bit in the first couple quarters.”

Shots began to fall for the Dukes in the third, as Johnson, Wasylson, and Naelle Bernard added to the scoring. The Dukes opened their biggest gap of the game with a nine-point lead and would go on to finish the quarter up, 41-33.

The Dukes knew an eight-point lead might not be enough against a well-coached team like La Salle.

“A six-point lead is not safe, a nine-point lead is not safe,” said Duquesne’s Head Coach Dan Burt. “We want to get it up to 12 or 15, and we were never able to do that.”

In the fourth quarter, the Duke’s highest scorer for the game Johnson went down hard on her arm, trying to pick up a loose ball. Johnson had to go to the locker room and would not return for the remainder of the game.

With Johnson out, La Salle slowly chipped away at the lead, and with 34 seconds left in the game, the Explorers cut the lead to just three.

There were some nervous moments as Duquesne tried to inbound it cleanly without turning the ball over. Luckily for the Dukes, they were able to get the ball to Megan McConnell, who sunk two free-throws to ice the game 57-52.

“We call him Mountain the Magician,” said Burt referring to La Salle’s Head Coach Mountain MacGillivray. “And he almost pulled a rabbit out of his hat today.”

Bernard finished with 13 points, and Johnson had a team high 15-points, 12 rebounds. She returned to action for Wednesday’s clash with the lowly Bonnies, finishing second on the team with 12 points. However, McConnell stole the show offensively, going 5-of-7 on 3-pointers on the way to a game-high 20.

The game was never in doubt, especially after the Dukes’ lead ballooned to 36-16 at halftime. From there, they coasted to their fourth consecutive victory. Duquesne is now 11-3 in conference, good enough for third place and a double-bye come tournament time.

They will try to solidify that position on Saturday at Saint Louis, before a Wednesday afternoon matinee at home versus George Washington.