PITTSBURGH — The Duquesne Dukes (11-17, 6-10 A10) fell to the Saint Josephs Hawks (11-16, 7-8 A10) Saturday by a score of 73-68. Mackenzie Smith scored 26 points for the Hawks while grabbing 9 rebounds. The Dukes had their own 20-point scorer in Precious Johnson, who also grabbed 6 rebounds in the loss. Joining Johnson in double digit points was Megan McConnell (11) and Fatou Pouye (12). McConnell, per her usual self, grabbed a team-leading 8 rebounds and dished out 6 assists.
Duquesne head coach Dan Burt had high praise for the opposing guard that gave the Dukes fits all afternoon.
“Mackenzie Smith is a really good basketball player,” said Burt after the game. “She plays basketball like a hockey player, she’s tough as nails. She’s very hard to guard because she creates so much contact.”
It was that contact, and that toughness, that stifled the Dukes for most of the game. St. Joe’s drew 11 fouls in the second half alone. “Today she was rewarded for creating contact. We were not in a position to take a charge on her because they were shooting the ball so well from three,” Burt continued.
It wasn’t all tough sledding, though. After closing the gap to just a three point deficit at halftime, 37-34, the Dukes fell flat once again in the third quarter. Smith herself outscored the entirety of the Dukes team 18-15 in the third quarter. But Duquesne mounted what they hoped to be a furious comeback in the fourth. Outscoring the Hawks 19-11, it wasn’t enough as St. Joseph’s took home the 73-68 win.
It’s not over yet, though. While several games still need to be completed, the Dukes can find themselves either the No. 10 or No. 11 seed in the A10 Tournament next weekend. A Saint Louis loss Saturday night versus Massachusetts pushes the Billikens down below the Dukes, leaving Duquesne as the No. 10 seed. Davidson owns the head-to-head tiebreaker for the No. 9 seed. However, a Saint Louis win Saturday night gives them the No. 9 seed, Davidson the No. 10 seed, and Duquesne the No. 11 seed.
MAJOR FOCUS: DUQUESNE VERSUS SAINT JOSEPH’S