Duquesne Dukes Come Up Short Against No. 23 Syracuse


The Duquesne Dukes women’s basketball team is 0-2 after a 90-84 loss to #23 Syracuse. Photo courtesy Jason Cohn

PITTSBURGH – In a high-scoring, fast-paced game, the Duquesne women’s basketball team gave No. 23 Syracuse all they could handle on Wednesday night, but fell 90-84 to the Orange. SU improves to 2-0, while DU falls to 0-2.

Deva’Nyar Workman scored a team-high 24 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. April Robinson recorded her first career double-double with 14 points and 10 assists. Amadea Szamosi added a career-high 14 points and Olivia Bresnahan had a career-high with seven assists for the Dukes.

“Tonight I saw a lot of growth in our team, a young team that doesn’t have a lot of experience,” coach Dan Burt said. “I thought we matched up very well and played with great energy and effort against a very good basketball season.

“For us to do well the rest of the season we will have to play at that level for practices and games. We need to understand that just because we’re close to Syracuse doesn’t mean that we’re happy by any stretch because we’re not.”

Syracuse’s Briana Day had a double-double of 22 points and a game-high 19 rebounds. Diamond Henderson scored 22 points off the bench in 23 minutes.

Duquesne came out of the gates on fire making 4-of-6 3-pointers started by Nurkic’s 3-pointer to open the game, forcing a Syracuse timeout. Nurkic would add another 3-pointer and Robinson would make a pair from beyond-the-arc to give the Dukes a 12-6 lead just before the 16-minute media timeout.

Back-to-back baskets from Szamosi and Bresnahan doubled-up the score at 16-8 at the 14:43 mark of the half. A jumper from Jose-Ann Johnson gave the Dukes its first 10-point lead of the game with 12:48 to play at 22-12. Brianna Thomas’ fought off a pair of defenders to drop in a jump shot and give Duquesne a 14-point lead at 28-14 with 10:32 remaining.

The Orange came back with 16-2 run over the next three minutes capped by a Henderson 3-pointer from the left side to tie the score at 30-30 with 6:35 remaining until halftime. Duquesne responded with a 9-2 run in the next 1:23 to make the score 39-32 forcing another SU timeout at the 5:12 mark.

The Dukes held the lead until the final seconds of the half when Henderson’s jumper fell as time expired, giving Syracuse a 47-46 lead going into halftime.

The 2nd half opened up with two lead changes and a tie before the Orange took a 55-51 lead into the 16-minute media timeout. A 3-pointer from Emilie Gronas followed by a driving layup by Bresnahan gave Duquesne a 58-57 advantage. However, the lead went back to SU when Butler knocked down a 3-pointer with 12:36 remaining to make the score 60-58.

Duquesne regained the lead midway through the half on a Szamosi and-1 that made the score 65-64. A Robinson 3-pointer followed by a Bresnahan putback gave the Dukes a 2-point lead heading into the 8-minute media timeout at 71-69.

A 12-4 run over the five minutes put Syracuse up 81-75 with 2:01 remaining. A 3-pointer by Workman with 23.7 seconds cut the deficit to five points at 86-81.

After a pair of Alexis Peterson free throws gave the Orange a 7-point advantage, Robinson drained a 3-pointer to make the score 88-84 with 19 seconds left. Robinson stole the inbounds pass, but her attempt rolled off the rim. Nurkic grabbed the rebound, but her shot didn’t fall and the ball went out of bounds off a Duquesne player. Cornelia Fondren was fouled on the ensuing possession and made both foul shots to end the game with Syracuse winning 90-84.

“Tonight, I saw a lot of growth in our team,” said head coach Dan Burt. “I thought we matched up very well and played with great energy and effort against a very good basketball team.”

The teams each had 44 rebounds and Duquesne had twice as many 3-pointers as Syracuse (10 to 5). The Dukes outscored the Orange in the paint 40-34 and on fast break points 16-9.

“We wanted to attack their press and 2-3 zone, that’s what we did and we found ourselves with a lot of open looks. Weather it was driving to the rim or drive-and-kicks. We made shots, but we were just a few buckets short tonight.”

Duquesne shot 51.4 percent in the 1st half, connecting of 18-of-35 attempts and 44.9 percent for the game, hitting 31-of-69 shots.

The Dukes travel to Wisconsin to take on Green Bay on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. The Phoenix, coming off a 22-10 season, have won 16 straight Horizon League regular season titles and appeared in the postseason in 17 straight seasons (13 NCAA /4 WNIT). In those 17 seasons, Green Bay has averaged 25.6 wins per season. Last season, Green Bay was a 68-60 winner at the Palumbo Center.

Game Notes:

Robinson tied a career-high with four 3-pointers (Buffalo – 11/28/12 and Princeton 11/16/14)
Robinson’s career-high is 11 assists at Kent State on Nov. 14, 2013

Day’s 19 rebounds is the 4th most against Duquesne in program history and the most since Amanda Dowe from Charlotte grabbed 18 boards on Feb. 3, 2013

Duquesne has only let up 90 points three times in their last 221 games (100 vs. No. 5 Notre Dame, 12/01/13 and 90 at No. 13 West Virginia 12/07/07)

My take: This is a tough loss especially considering Duquesne led by 14 points at a point in the first half. This however is much closer to the effort the Dukes want as opposed to Princeton where the offense was stagnant at times. The turnovers [20] definitely need to decrease. If Deva’Nyar Workman continues putting up numbers like she did in this game then she will not last long on the bench.

I have been pleasantly surprised by her rebounding ability and she is new to NCAA Division I so her potential could get even better. The first three games on the schedule are tough with the stretch concluding Saturday at Green Bay which Burt believes is a top 50 team. It is his hope that these games give his players an idea of what standard of play they need moving forward.