PITTSBURGH — The Duquesne Dukes (9-13, 4-6 A10) hosted the Fordham Rams (16-5, 7-2 A10) Saturday at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse, falling 59-52. Asiah Dingle scored 24 for the Rams while grabbing 8 rebounds.
The Dukes jumped out to their largest lead of the game late in the first quarter, 19-8, before Fordham went on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to just three points. The Rams took their first lead of the game with just 2:37 remaining in the second quarter, 26-25, but the Dukes battled back to take a 28-25 lead into halftime.
The second half was just as back-and-forth. After Duquesne jumped out to a 37-30 lead early, A Kaitlyn Downey jumper from Fordham tied the game 42-42. Laia Sole gave the Dukes the lead back on a jumper less than a minute later, and Duquesne opened it up to 47-44 to start the fourth quarter.
But for the second time in as many games, the Dukes were unable to close out the game.
“Right now, Duquesne women’s basketball is pretty good for about 37 or 38 minutes, but have to find a way to execute more positively in the last three to four minutes of a game,” said head coach Dan Burt after the game.
The Dukes shot their worst in the fourth quarter, going 3-for-9, including 0-for-3 from behind the arc. While it was good enough to give Duquesne a 52-48 lead with just five minutes to play, it was the last basket the Dukes scored. A layup from Anna DeWolfe and two from Dingle gave Fordham a 54-52 lead with 1:35 left in the game. While not an insurmountable deficit, the Dukes were unable to rise to the challenge. With 42 seconds remaining, Kendell Heremaia hit a 3-point shot for the Rams to extend their lead to 57-52 and all but seal the Dukes’ fate. Two free throws from Dingle with 11 seconds to play capped the scoring, giving the Rams the win.
It was a brutal two-game stretch that saw Duquesne take on the top two teams in the A10 standings and fail to close out a win in the fourth quarter. Burt mentioned lack of depth as a potential reason.
“I wish we didn’t have to play Meg and Tess and Libby the amount of minutes we do. We really need another guard to step up,” said Burt after the game. “We’ve got three guards that could have started this year. If we’d have had one of those, I think you’d see more W’s and less L’s,” said Burt after the game.
Duquesne has had key players out with injuries for most of the season. Senior Diamond Bragg, junior Xavier transfer Lauren Wasylson, and first-year Olivia Westphal haven’t seen the court this season. Graduate Amanda Kalin saw limited action in two games this season (30 minutes played at Richmond on Jan. 1 and five minutes played at VCU on Jan. 5).
That kind of depth, or lack thereof, has forced first-year guards Megan McConnell and Tess Myers to play higher minutes. Together, the two average 35 minutes per game.
“We’ve got to find some way to give them some rest during the game, and that becomes my responsibility,” said Burt. “And it becomes the responsibility of the kids that aren’t playing as much or aren’t playing [at all]. They need to get in, they need to get more work so that we can get faith in them to be able to put them on the floor.”
MAJOR FOCUS: DUQUESNE FALLS TO FORDHAM