Duquesne Dukes End Losing Streak to Saint Joseph’s


Duquesne Dukes guard April Robinson drives through a screen from guard Olivia Bresnahan. The Dukes defeated Saint Joseph’s 63-54. Photo Courtesy Stephen Pope

For five consecutive years and nine of the past 10 meetings the results have been the same – a Duquesne Dukes loss to the Saint Joseph’s Hawks. This year however a 63-54 victory for the Dukes ended both of those strings and also came in front of a national audience as the game was televised on the CBS Sports Network.

“We’ll obviously have to shoot the ball much better to win basketball games going forward,” coach Dan Burt. “To lead for all 40 minutes and have 31 offensive rebounds, 55 total rebounds and only 10 turnovers I couldn’t be more proud of the effort, toughness and the grit that we showed. I think we may have seen coming out party for Amadea Szamosi in terms of her being more aggressive and physical. I thought she rebounded very effectively for us.”

You do not need to tell Burt how much this win means. He has spent the last five seasons on the Duquesne sideline.

More from Duquesne Dukes

“You could say that Saint Joseph’s along with Dayton you could say are two of the premier programs in our league with their consistency over a long period of time,” said Burt. “I have so much respect for Cindy (Griffin) and what she does over there and the way that they play. I’m very proud that we were able to get a win against that team today. They may have a record that is 5-12 but they’ve had a lot of injuries and I think they arguably have the best player of the league in Natasha Cloud.”

Duquesne (11-7, 3-2 Atlantic-10) was led in scoring by senior guard Belma Nurkic and junior guard April Robinson each of whom scored 12 points. Sophomore guard Amadea Szamosi scored 11 points and set a career high with 15 total rebounds, 12 of which came in the second half.

“It was one of the first things that we were focusing on to outrebound them,” Szamosi said. “If we win the boards, we can win the game. Since I’m on the post I know I have to rebound as best I as I can.”

Duquesne was a +20 in total rebounds and grabbed 31 offensive rebounds. A big reason for this was junior guard Deva’Nyar Workman, the team’s leading rebounder. After no rebounds Thursday against Saint Louis, Workman had 11 in this contest.

“I reminded Deva’Nyar the last two days about how she had a goose egg on the boards and she certainly gave me a couple of dirty looks and certainly didn’t like what I had to say,” said Burt. “She didn’t get 11 rebounds because of me, she did it because she’s a great rebounder and a kid that plays with such toughness and gritty.”

Guard Ciara Andrews had 17 points for Saint Joseph’s (5-12, 1-4 Atlantic 10) and guard Natasha Cloud had 14 points and nine assists.

Duquesne set the tone early taking an 11-1 lead. The Hawks were held scoreless for the first 6:19 of the game and 53 seconds later made their first field goal. Saint Joseph’s went on a 7-0 run to get back into the game, however the Dukes would go on a 15-3 run to take a 26-10 lead with 1:32 to play in the first half.

All told, Duquesne led 26-13 at halftime, the fewest points the Dukes have allowed since Nov. 14, 2013 against Morehead State. Three Hawks players scored in the first half and they committed 12 turnovers whereas the Dukes had four miscues. Duquesne also had a 13-3 edge in points off turnovers during the opening 20 minutes.

Duquesne continued to be the aggressors in the second half opening on a 10-2 run which included the 100th three point basket of Nurkic’s career. This gave the Dukes a 36-15 lead with 14:01 to play and also represented the largest Duquesne advantage of the contest.

Saint Joseph’s would quickly respond with a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 36-24. During this sequence Cloud was involved in each basket scoring one and contributing three assists.

From here the teams traded runs back and forth until guard Mackenzie Rule made her second three point shot of the game to cut the deficit to single digits for the first time since the 7:40 remaining mark of the first half.

The Hawks cut their deficit to seven points when guard Olivia Bresnahan sent an outlet pass to Robinson who was left wide open. Robinson had the option to dribble it out and take more time off the game clock or to take the three point shot. Robinson, a 41.3 percent shooter from three point range chose the latter and was rewarded.

“I was so tempted to and then I took that dribble,” Robinson said. “After that still no one was there and I was feeling it. It was a gutsy move, but it went in.”

The shot selection created mixed emotions from the Duquesne sideline at the time but generated laughter from all Dukes parties when all was said and done.

“My assistant Matt (Schmidt) who is our offensive coordinator told the team to pull the ball out,” said Burt. “I didn’t say anything because I’m the riverboat gambler, I’m the guy that will roll the dice. I was thinking take it and that’s the kind of kid April is. She plays with the same confidence.”

Though Cloud would make a three on top of Robinson to cut the lead to seven once again, Duquesne went 7-8 from the free throw line in the final minute to secure the victory. Nurkic nailed the final four free throws.

“It feels good since we haven’t beaten them in a very long time but at the end of the day it’s just another win and just another team, so we just have to move forward,” Nurkic said.


Duquesne next will travel to Washington, D.C. to take on A-10 foe George Washington, a team Burt stated had one of the biggest front lines in all of women’s basketball. The opening tip is scheduled for 7 pm Wednesday.

More from City of Champions