In a game that was made closer than it perhaps should have been, the Duquesne Dukes women’s basketball team defeated the undermanned Providence Friars 83-78.
For those of you that thought the Duquesne men’s team has issues with injuries and ineligible players, the Providence women were down to seven players tonight. Duquesne elected to run as much as possible until the last couple of minutes against the shorthanded Friars to try to wear them down. It was a game that the Dukes at one point led 59-41 before becoming slightly complacent and letting the lead slip away. When the Dukes regained their muster, the lead was trimmed down from 18 to about 8. Having all the momentum, Providence kept the run going, tying the game up 75-75 with 1:38 to go. However, Providence used their energy up making the comeback and could never take the lead. The Dukes wore down the Friars in the last minute and a half, earning a five point win. It was fun to watch Tori Rule for the Friars, as she was making shots all over the court en route to 26 points.
A lot good can come out of the win. The Dukes looked poised and like they were still enjoying playing in the last couple of minutes despite blowing an 18 point lead and being under pressure late. Wumi played like a potential A-10 Player of the Year candidate, scoring 26 points on only 15 shots. She played great defense inside also. Despite struggling scoring, Orsi didn’t press like she has a habit of doing and found ways to contribute. Every key rebound late Orsi grabbed, and Orsi hit the huge three with under three to play that extended the Duquesne lead from one to four. Raegan Moore’s shooting continued, and she played very good defense as well. Though it may not show in the rebounding totals, I thought King and Johnson got excellent position and boxed out extremely well underneath. The Dukes made 5 of 6 free throws from when Providence tied it up to the Dukes having it closed out up 7 with 15 seconds left, and the missed free throw Orsi once again got a huge board when it counted.
There are obviously some things to work on coming up. The defense slipped for about 10 minutes in the second half, and outside of the top 7 I didn’t think anyone played well. Angela Heintz had a solid weakside boxout, but other than that she had a marginal game for her. I think she’s looking too often to drive on offense to her detriment right now. Overall rebounding, particularly guard rebounding, needs a bit of work. In an effort to get out on the break, the Dukes gambled too much sometimes and had players running down the floor when they didn’t have the ball, creating odd-man opportunities for the Friars. I also think Burt is waiting a possession or two too long before calling timeout both in this game as well as the Green Bay game to stop runs. Duling and Szamosi simply do not look ready to play yet as a frosh against Big East caliber teams. The attendance numbers are also something for all to work on, as the Dukes could very well be a top 50 team again this year, including only 6 students in the Crew section for a game against a Big East opponent.
The win improves the Dukes to 6-3 with Saint Francis up next at Loretto, while the Friars fall to 4-4.