Duquesne Dukes Unsatisfied With Senior Day Win


The Duquesne Dukes WBB team clinched at least third place in the Atlantic 10 with a win on senior day. Photo courtesy Duquesne Athletics

April Robinson had seven assists in Sunday’s win against Rhode Island. Photo courtesy Stephen Pope

The Duquesne Dukes have clinched at least the third seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament after a 60-50 win Sunday against Rhode Island, so why were they unsatisfied?

“We weren’t necessarily happy with getting a double digit victory against a team that can finish anywhere from fourth through sixth in our league,” coach Dan Burt said. “We weren’t happy with the way we executed and that was a testament to our seniors and how far we’ve come as a program.”

For much of the game, the Dukes offense ran through freshman guard Emilie Gronas who scored a career high 20 points, making five of her nine three point attempts.

“Emilie Gronas did things today I’ve expected all season,” said Burt. “Early in November she had an injury which hampered her and then it was a numbers game and we have a lot of great guards so her minutes were limited. She does shoot the three that well and every time she shoots a three I expect for it to go in.”

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Duquesne is now 19-8, 11-3 in the Atlantic 10 and received additional contributions from sophomore forward Amadea Szamosi (12 points/11 rebounds), Olivia Bresnahan (seven rebounds) and April Robinson (seven assists).

The Dukes lost the previous contest between the two teams 62-61 on Jan. 3 leading by as many as 16 points. Rhode Island used a 14-0 run to get back into the game but Duquesne could not make enough shots and had 22 turnovers to seal the loss.

“I just wanted revenge,” Gronas said. “The last game didn’t turn out how we wanted it to, so I tried to do my job which is shoot the ball and my teammates did a great job of passing it. We got our revenge, so I’m happy.”

Rhode Island fell to 15-11 on the season and 7-7 overall. The team was led by Samantha Tabakman who had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Tayra Melendez and Charise Wilson each scored 11 points.

In honor of senior day, Stasia King started instead of Amadea Szamosi. The Dukes however were shut down in the paint during the first 20 minutes scoring only four points.

“Her (King’s) big thing is free throw line jumper, short corner jumpers not a back to the basket kid,” said Burt. “Jose (Ann Johnson) didn’t get a lot of touches because we had a lot of open looks from the three point line. We wanted to get more post touches, I would credit Rhode Island on being very aggressive on their zone. Every time we did get a post entry, they swarmed us. We didn’t really have any open looks. When Millie (Gronas) hit those threes, we would go to her side and enter the ball from there and obviously they couldn’t help off.”

Both teams struggled to get its offenses going and for 3:36 in the first half, no points were scored.

What set Duquesne apart to the tune of a 31-20 halftime lead was nine first half threes and a 22-4 bench advantage. The bench added another 19 points in the second half making the Dukes reserves a +37.

“That’s the way this team is, that’s why we’re special,” Burt said. “You have a situation where no one really cared about the accolades or who scores points. We’re having kids fill whatever role is necessary to have success. I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids.”

Duquesne quickly pushed the lead to 37-20 with 16:24 to play, however much like the first meeting Rhode Island tried to make a comeback and cut Duquesne’s lead to seven points.

The Dukes were unfazed however and quickly in its next possession.

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  • “We stuck through it the whole game, the previous game we got up a lot and then we panicked,” said Gronas. “They started pressuring us towards the end and we played 40 minutes today.”

    Duquesne is now 18-1 when leading games at the half, has tied a program record with 11 conference wins, extended its winning streak to 10 games and made its winning streak grow to eight games.

    “We have a chance to do special things, but that will all depend on how we finish these last two regular season games and in the conference tournament,” Burt said. “Obviously winning eight in a row and 11 conference wins, we’ve done some special things with a team some people said was rebuilding or not as talented. We’re pretty good and we’re really excited about it.

    There’s people who doubt us and people who don’t think we’re as good as we are. Heart goes a long way and those kids have proven that. We were picked seventh, we’re hopefully going to finish third. We’re going to go into the conference tournament and I don’t think there are going to be a lot of people who want to play us.”

    Now Duquesne goes back on the road to face Saint Joseph’s Wednesday night at 7 pm. These two teams played Jan. 18 in Pittsburgh with Duquesne the 63-54 victory. The Dukes have an 8-6 road record which has improved over the course of the season.

    “I think we’ve become more familiar as a team with what we need to do not just on the floor but in terms of doing our homework, how we handle ourselves at meals and making sure we don’t overeat, but eat correctly,” said Burt. “It’s a tight bunch that really enjoys one another. We won at UMass and our flight was cancelled and instead of complaining we got on a bus and drove down to Princeton, NJ and had a good time before driving back home. I think these kids enjoy being on the road, it’s a special group regardless of what happen and these kids don’t want it to end. It’s been a really good run with really good people.”


    Of note: Prior to the game Stasia King, Belma Nurkic, Jose-Ann Johnson, Olivia Bresnahan and head student manager Monica Chmiel all were honored for senior day. Nurkic was born in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Johnson Jamaica. Both of those anthems were played before tip-off in additional to the National Anthem.

    My take: The team may have viewed it as unimpressive because of various shooting slumps but this was an important win and lets opponents know not to take Duquesne lightly. Burt was correct in his press conference when he said that Amadea Szamosi did not even have her “C” game but still got a double-double and that Deva’Nyar Workman would be a starter on just about every other team in the conference. This shows how in sync his team is and you do not want to play a team that has that. Right now George Washington, Dayton and now Duquesne have distanced themselves from the field, and for good reason. Now it is up to the Dukes not to have a road letdown Wednesday.

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