Duquesne women’s basketball team defeats Saint Francis with strong second half Sunday


The Duquesne Dukes women’s basketball team huddles before its game against Saint Francis. Photo by Zachary Weiss

The Duquesne Dukes women’s basketball team used a big second half on the road to defeat Saint Francis 86-66 Sunday to improve to 7-3 on the season.

Raegan Moore led the Dukes with 20 points and was one of five Duquesne players in double figures.

“I was very happy with our second-half performance, in a gym that was somewhat hostile,” Duquesne coach Dan Burt said. “It was great to beat a very passionate Saint Francis team that was playing very hard. To have five players in double figures, just shows that we have really great balance.

“We got to the free throw line (39 attempts), but I’m very happy getting to the line like we did and spreading the scoring out.”

Duquesne, which led 33-32 at the half, put up 53 points in the second half and shot 43.8 percent from the field, while forcing Saint Francis to commit 22 turnovers.

Searching for a spark, the Dukes started to grab the momentum, when April Robinson dove for a loose ball and earned a foul call in the same motion. This play drew the loudest ovation from both the Duquesne bench and coaching staff.

Robinson who finished with 15 points and tied a career high with eight rebounds, and she started a 26-2 run over the course of 10 minutes. Robinson’s two free throws put the Dukes up 73-47.

“April is the catalyst for our team. She is our point guard and we go as April goes,” Burt said.

Neither team sustained momentum in the first half and Duquesne allowed the first five points of the game. Moore made two three point shots and had 12 points in the opening 20 minutes, but the team shot 32.4 percent from the field. Both teams traded the lead back and forth. Saint Francis was led by Williams who had 11 points and shot better from the field.

Burt said that because the Dukes missed several close range shots, Saint Francis was able to speed up the pace, which played into their strengths. The Dukes led by one at the end of the first half despite being outrebounded 31-21.

Saint Francis’ Alli Williams led all scorers with 24 points on her birthday.

The Dukes will next face Robert Morris on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at the A.J. Palumbo Center. Tip-off time is scheduled for 7 p.m. This is the first of the “Big Four” rivalry games, with match-ups against West Virginia and Pitt will follow.

Of note: Wumi Agunbiade was named Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Week along with Natasha Cloud of St. Joseph’s. Agunbiade averaged 20 points and 11.5 rebounds in the two games. Her 12 rebounds against Saint Francis were a season high.