Dayton, OH — The Duquesne women’s basketball team lost its first conference game of the season falling 79-70 to Dayton and dropped to 18-4 overall and 8-1 in Atlantic 10 play
“The game was officiated completely differently than the first 20 games of our season,” Duquesne coach Dan Burt said. “They were allowed to hand check, freedom of movement which is something that is a point of emphasis was not called this evening. We were not allowed to move. It wasn’t until late in the game when that was finally called. With a physical team like this, playing aggressively, for them to have three fouls and my center to have three fouls in the first half, says a whole lot about how the game was. I was very disappointed in the officiating.”
In the first 6-7 minutes, Dayton opened up a lead and stretched it to double digits at the end of the first quarter which is something Duquesne was unable to come back from.
“We allowed them to do anything they wanted defensively in the first half,” said Burt. “We didn’t have ball pressure, we allowed them to make any cut they wanted, and that’s the game right there. On the other end, we were not allowed to make any kind of cut because of freedom of movement.”
Duquesne was led in points by Julijana Vojinovic who had 23, five rebounds and seven assists. Kadri-Ann Lass added 15 points, five rebounds and two blocks.
1. Even though Duquesne had a slow start in front of 3,223 fans and also felt it was battling the whistles, never once did it give up.
Dayton led by as many as 17 points in this game but Duquesne still battled, ultimately cutting its deficit to six points, but never got any closer.
“I loved how we battled and if you look at it after the first 6-7 minutes of the game, we played them even,” Burt said. “The first seven minutes got us and we didn’t prepare. We knew the game was going to be physical but we didn’t prepare for how physical it was with the freedom of movement.”
2. Free throws played an important role in determining the winner.
Duquesne did not take any foul shots in the first half, which Burt said was part lack of aggression and part the inability to get open because players were being held.
When Duquesne did get to the line, most of the time in the third quarter, it did not capitalize.
With Duquesne getting off to a strong start in the third quarter, free throws could have put added pressure on Dayton, but not enough fell.
“When you take away the free throws would we have to foul in the end,” Burt said. “They were 16-19 from the free throw line and we were 8-14. There’s the game.”
3. Duquesne is well aware of what its objective is moving ahead and really it has not changed.
Currently Duquesne is second in the Atlantic 10, half a game ahead of Fordham which lost to Saint Louis earlier Saturday. The top two seeds earn first round byes in the A-10 Championships and automatically will ensure a quarterfinal berth in Richmond, VA.
For what it is worth, Duquesne is scheduled to host Fordham Feb. 21.
“We just have to win,” Burt said of the remaining schedule. “Nothing has changed, we have to win our games, we have to win the rest of our games. We’re capable of doing that. I am proud of how the kids battles today, I really am. We fell a little short to a really good team.”
Duquesne will travel to face Richmond Sunday at 12 p.m. Richmond has won its last two contests.
MBB wins at Foggy Bottom
For weeks Duquesne men’s basketball coach Keith Dambrot had been waiting to insert Marko Krivacevic into his team’s rotation, but stopped short due to playing small at the four spot.
Wednesday, Krivacevic played a career-high seven minutes, scoring six points in Duquesne’s 75-73 win over George Washington.
“It’s a gutsy move, but I just felt it was the right move,” Dambrot said. “I think now we have a pretty good mixture and if teams don’t guard our 4 and 5 like they did early in the game we have a guy that can shoot it.”
Earlier in the week, sophomore guard Mike Lewis II issued a challenge to his teammates to avoid a potential loss in this game because it would tie the season-high of three games.
The third loss from earlier this season occurred against Pitt and led to crying in the locker room following the setback and ultimately, such a streak has been avoided since.
Lewis II backed up his message scoring 15 of his 17 points in the first half.
Kellon Taylor scored a career-high 11 points for Duquesne and sank one of two free throws with 1.4 seconds left which helped secure this win.
“I’m proud of our guys and our guys have shown a boat load of resiliency, I don’t know how many close game you can play in one year,” Dambrot said. “I’ve never seen this many in my life.”
This win sweeps the season series against GW for the first time since 2010 and 2011. Duquesne had lost its previous five road contests against George Washington.
Duquesne will host St. Bonaventure Saturday at 4:30 in a Red Out Game. The opening tip will commence at 6:30 p.m.
Photo credit: Duquesne Athletics