Richmond, VA— Duquesne women’s basketball junior guard Chassidy Omogrosso could not have been more direct following her team’s 71-65 loss Friday night to Saint Louis at the Richmond Coliseum during Atlantic 10 Championship quarterfinal play.
Just days earlier, Omogrosso stated that her goal was to go 2-for-4 as conference champions but after this setback, this is now a missed opportunity.
“I don’t take losing well, that’s all I can say, I hate to lose more than I like to win,” she said. “I just know we’re going to come back and work harder than ever. We’ll use this for motivation, that’s for sure.”
Duquesne will now take a five-plus hour bus ride back to Pittsburgh reflecting on what went wrong and how to turn a negative into a positive.
It was at this time last year that Duquesne took a similar bus ride following a loss to Dayton when the Dukes set a goal of winning the conference tournament.
“We should have a competitive edge every game, a chip on our shoulder every game and we didn’t have that tonight,” said Omogrosso. “If we don’t come out every game like we want to take their heads off then, I don’t know. This isn’t a good feeling and hopefully this feeling will stay with us and it will drive us.”
According to Omogrosso this competitive edge should be there every time so you do not want to lose and that is regardless of the score.
“You should be competitive for 40 minutes and I don’t think we were competitive for 40 minutes,” she said.
— Duquesne WBB (@DuqWBB) March 3, 2018
Duquesne’s setback meant that it suffered an early exit after two consecutive berths in the Atlantic 10 Championship finals.
“This is completely unexpected to us, we did not anticipate this and it is not because of the opponent,” Duquesne coach Dan Burt said. “As a head coach you have to plan for everything but I really had not planned for this. Even throughout the game eventually we would be able to turn that corner and get that edge and that didn’t happen. We just didn’t have it today.”
Saint Louis will advance to the Atlantic 10 Championship semifinals where it faces Saint Joseph’s which was a 52-49 winner over third-seeded Fordham later on Friday night.
“This team has not gone astray,” Saint Louis coach Lisa Stone said. “We’ve been in every single game outside of the Washington State game. We’ve challenged this team and they’ve responded. It’s all about growth, getting better, caring for kids and getting them to stay in the boat.”
Duquesne was led by Kadri-Ann Lass’s double-double, which consisted of 18 points and 10 rebounds. She was one of four Dukes to reach double-figures.
Saint Louis had senior guard Jackie Kemph tie a career-high with her 28 points.
One of these things is not the others
Those were the foul shots taken by the two teams, with Saint Louis totaling the higher of the two numbers and Burt was not happy one bit about it.
“We teach our kids to drive to the basket and we will get some calls,” he said. “27-10, take away the three at the end, that’s still double the amount of free throws. We didn’t play our A game, I don’t think we coached our A game, but when two teams are doing things similarly, in terms of driving the ball to the basket and one shoots twice as many free throws and one individual more free throws than our entire team? What can I say to my team?”
The player Burt referenced is Kemph who took 16 free throws and made 13.
Kemph scored two points in the regular season meeting between these two teams and with the game being close Saint Louis opted to keeping calling upon its best player to make plays both due to her abilities and possibly because she was drawing foul calls.
Additionally, referee John Capolino assessed a technical foul on Julijana Vojinovic after she made a basket for what appeared to be a gesture with her index finger indicating that a foul should have been called on Saint Louis.
“Juca asked for a foul, I don’t know what the definition of belligerent is but she didn’t curse in English or Serbian,” said Burt. “She stepped towards the official and raised her hands. I don’t have a problem with it, I used to be a college basketball official, I would have given her a T also, but she got hit. There’s a reason why she is frustrated and the possession before that she took a shot from the three-point line and got hit. The kid should be upset.”
Capolino was part of the referee crew which assessed Vojinovic a technical foul in the regular season because she and an opposing player were exchanging words after the junior guard made a basket. The explanation at the time was that it was a preventative measure.
Duquesne knew it had to win out in the conference championship to earn an NCAA berth but now it will wait until Mar. 12 to see if it makes the WNIT.
Considering Duquesne’s success both this season and being a tournament regular within the past handful of years (save for the 2015-16 NCAA Tournament team) it would be a fair expectation that it makes the field.
Should Duquesne get into the WNIT, the first round game would likely be a road contest
One more note
According to multiple sources, there is no set plan yet for next year’s Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championships as Richmond will be going through a revitalization process which will either demolish or rehabilitate Richmond Coliseum. It is unknown if that will occur this year or next year.