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Dukes use key mid-game stretch to earn home win

Pittsburgh, PA — Duquesne is in the middle of a challenging conference schedule with a potential key matchup coming Wednesday, but Sunday the task was St. Bonaventure and the Dukes certainly did not look ahead.

A total of 11 Duquesne players saw the floor as it defeated St. Bonaventure 73-59 Sunday afternoon to improve to 18-3 on the season and a perfect 8-0 in Atlantic 10 play.

Duquesne has now won 16 of its last 17 contests.

“It was a real team victory with lots of highlights,” Duquesne coach Dan Burt said. “This is a good win.”

Chassidy Omogrosso led all scorers with 20 points, shooting 8-for-13 from the field and having six assists against no turnovers.

“I thought we valued the ball, we only had 11 turnovers,” she said. “They try to slow you down and get you in halfcourt and make you play D for 25 plus seconds. I thought we put up 73 points a team trying to lower your possessions.”

In just her second game back from injury, Mckenna Maycock led St. Bonaventure with 16 points and Arielle Harvey added 14 points, making her first three 3-point shots from the field.

Bona’s leading scorer Mariah Ruff also scored 14 points but took 10 shoots and was 6-for-8 from the foul line.

“I think we did a great job with her and she still managed 14, a lot of those were late in the fourth quarter,” said Burt. “I think we frustrated her an awful lot. Conor Richardson was exceptional on her and when Amanda Kalin was in the game, she did well.”

Bazelak showcases shot-making ability 

If you ask Duquesne freshman guard Libby Bazelak what the best part of her game is, the answer is almost instant.

“I like to pass, passing is my probably my favorite part about basketball, getting assists and everything,” she said. “Today I just didn’t have as many opportunities and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get the win.”

Bazelak was able to call her own number a bit more often in an important late-second quarter stretch which provided some separation from St. Bonaventure.

With 51.5 seconds remaining in the first half, Kadri-Ann Lass passed the ball from the mid-left side of the paint, over Emily Calabrese’s out-stretched hands to and open Bazelak. Bazelak caught the ball deep in the right paint and Calabrese got to the ball late and fouled on the made shot.

Bazelak who came in an 89.7% free throw shooter then converted the three-point play.

“I felt a little bit more comfortable,” said Bazelak. “As each game goes by, I’m getting more comfortable and clicking with the team.”

On the team’s next possession, Omogrosso found Bazelak for a 3-point shot on the left wing and the shot went in 10 ticks before regulation ended, as Duquesne closed the half on an 8-0 run in the final 2:22 of the quarter.

“That was a good play to end the half because it got us going,” Bazelak said.

Burt has not been shy to say that everyone on the team has the green light on its 3-point shots and Bazelak certainly embraced this on that final Duquesne possession, without any hesitation.

Coming in with a career high of 14 points, which was scored against UConn earlier this season, Bazelak had 11 points Sunday.

Bazelak, as many know also has a sister, Maddie, who is a junior outside hitter on Duquesne’s volleyball team, which is similar to Judith and Laia Sole, albeit now focusing on different sport, though each wear the same name in the front of their respective uniform.

“We played high school basketball together,” said Bazelak. “We don’t see each other that often with her playing volleyball but it’s still pretty cool seeing her down in the locker rooms.”

Three things

1. Kadri-Ann Lass quietly recorded her second double-double of the season but beyond that made several advanced decisions that also put her time in good positions.

In the first quarter, she made a post pass to Helmi Tulonen that allowed her to pivot towards the rim for two points and the aforementioned play to Bazelak spurred Duquesne on its run.

“Paint touches were important, because we know they like to sag in and our posts did a great job of making the right play,” Omogrosso explained.

Right after Bazelak’s first basket, Lass got on the floor to earn a jump ball with the possession arrow pointing Duquesne’s direction.

That does not even include the three blocks she had in this game.

“I thought Kadri was just exceptional today,” Burt said. “The three early blocks forces Bonaventure to always think of where she’s at for the remainder of the games. She rebounded the ball very well and made good, timely decisions. That was a very good game by her.”

2. Burt’s longest answer in the press conference came when discussing Eniko Kuttor and what has been a decrease in minutes the past three games with her five, 13 and 11 minutes respectively falling short of her 17 minute average coming into this game.

Kuttor had one point and her three rebounds were below her 7.6 average.

“Eni needs to listen and focus,” Burt said. “She went into the game and immediately got beat to the basket. The very next possession, she gets an eight-foot jumper which could have been a layup. She does some nice things but as we are shooting a free throw, she walks into the lane and negates a free throw that Kadri made. That’s not thinking and we’re now halfway into our conference season and that can’t happen. The reason why she doesn’t play as much is because she is not as invested 100% of the time like Paige Cannon is. Paige can’t jump, can’t run, probably can’t shoot as well as Eni and can’t rebound rebound, she doesn’t have that natural gift Eni does but because she works so hard and it matters to her, and she takes not a single moment off, she produces. Eni produces at times, but she makes mistakes because she takes plays off and her mind goes blank.”

This tough love Burt gave in the response is because he knows what she is capable of and he stated the team will work with her, though she also will have to put the work in to improve.

“Frankly, we need her for the long term, we need her for these next eight games,” said Burt. “We can’t have a kid that is top-10 in the league in rebounds disappear from our rotation. We have to find a way to get her back.”

3. Duquesne made 10 of its 23 3-point shots Sunday, and it led to a curious question to sports information director (who was celebrating his birthday) Ryan Gavatorta, how many consecutive games it has made a three. The answer? 238 games.

A-10 scoreboard

Saint Joseph’s 75 La Salle 64– Saint Joseph’s led by as many as 29 points in this game and used a 39-25 rebounding advantage and a 54-26 paint margin to create separation. La Salle did hold a lead but just for 4:29 of the contest. Adashia Franklin led Saint Joseph’s with 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field and also had 15 rebounds. Amanda Fioravanti added 15 points and 13 rebounds. This win gave its coach Cindy Griffin her 300th career win with the Hawks.

Richmond 77 VCU 68 OT– Down 65-55 with 2:09 remaining in the fourth quarter, Dee Hatcher’s 3-point shot for Richmond tied the game with :28 to play. Richmond trailed by as many as 14, a disadvantage which came in the third quarter, but found a way to win, aided by a 47-25 rebounding advantage. Micaela Parson scored 23 points, grabbed eight rebounds and was 9-for-9 from the free throw line for Richmond.

Fordham 67 George Mason 62– Fordham scored 22 points on 18 turnovers as Fordham made enough plays down the stretch to earn a road win at EagleBank Arena. G’mrice Davis notched her 19th double-double of the season with 18 points and 13 rebounds while tying a career-high of four assists. Bre Cavanaugh scored 14 points for Fordham. George Mason held a 41-27 rebounding advantage and led for 1:33 in this game. Natalie Butler had 14 points and 20 rebounds, good for her 21st consecutive double-double.

UMass 61 Rhode Island 59

Bre Hampton-Bey’s steal on a post-entry pass by Rhode Island was then thrown down the court to Hailey Leidel who just beat the buzzer on a lay-up to earn a road win. Leidel had 25 points and six rebounds for UMass. The fourth quarter ultimately decided the game as the Minutewomen won it by an 18-12 mark.

Up next

Duquesne next will face Dayton as one of the two lone undefeated teams in conference play will fall. The game will tip off Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Dayton won each of the three meetings last season with the final one coming at the Atlantic 10 Championship.

“Dayton is a very good basketball team with very good talent,” Burt said. “They run a lot of very good stuff and are very well coached and so are we. Wednesday is going to be a lot of fun. This is why you play college basketball, that’s why you come to Duquesne. That’s why you go to Dayton, games like what’s going to happen on Wednesday. It’s going to be a really good game. It doesn’t define our season regardless of what happens, a win or loss. It’s a game that we need to win if we want to achieve all of our goals.”

Photo credit: Duquesne Athletics

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