WNIT: Duquesne Dukes Use Heart And Teamwork To Advance


Stasia King may have had her best game in a Duquesne uniform. Photo courtesy Stephen Pope

“I know we’re going to win any time its close because that’s the makeup of our team. I never thought we were going to lose this game, I thought we were going to win the entire time.”

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It is extremely rare that I open a piece of any kind with a quote, however when you have what I just put up there it is hard not to. The above was what Duquesne Dukes women’s basketball coach Dan Burt told me when I asked him had any doubts or nerves during his team’s 48-47 WNIT second round win over Richmond Tuesday.

It also never hurts when the players buy into the same belief from day one.

“I said at the beginning of the year that this was going to be a special year and we’ve been proving that and I think we’re going to keep proving it,” Belma Nurkic said.

It would have been extremely easy to lose all motivation, however Burt, who earlier in the season called himself “a riverboat gambler” leads a team that has advanced to the third round of the WNIT.

“When we practice we go 75-80 minutes which is long for teams that are still playing at this point and we have five to eight players that stay after to work on their game and others that come later at night,” said Burt.

Richmond was a team that gave Duquesne issues in the first meeting this season between the two teams, although Duquesne pulled the win in overtime. Tuesday the Dukes were down 10-2 again and were shooting seven percent from the field at the time. A 28-9 run changed that.

This was a game of runs which can explain how a 15 point Duquesne advantage turned into trailing by one with under a minute to play.

Going 12-13 from the free throw line certainly helps and even though the lone miss was the front end of a one-in-one in the final minute, Burt believes this mark shows his team’s resolve.

If you look at the stats sheet, you can see that Stasia King scored eight points. What you cannot see by just looking at that same stats sheet is the amount of passion she showed. This probably was her best game in a Duquesne uniform and came when she was needed the most.

“Everything Stasia did tonight was big,” said Burt. “I’ve never seen Stasia jump so high in my life. She played as hard as I’ve ever seen her play and she doesn’t want to see her season end, she doesn’t want her career to end.”

April Robinson did what she does best. She made two three point shots, numbers 83 and 84 on the season when her team was down 10-2. Her transition play during this same stretch to find King is a play most point guards will not make. That was a Duquesne team that made the rally, not one player.

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  • Looking at points, Amadea Szamosi had her worst game of the season, zero points. Her teammates would disagree because in the final seconds she took a charge that gave that Dukes possession with 0.7 to play. The sideline erupted and Burt as well as assistant coach Eddie Benton were next to each other smiling. It was hard to tell who was most excited. Still think Szamosi had an off game?

    “That’s your 10 points that was the play of the game,” Nurkic said. “She came in clutch.”

    “The way they [the referees] were calling charges all night, it was worth a shot,” said April Robinson.

    Now the Dukes will face West Virginia Thursday evening in a third round WNIT game, the first time Duquesne has gone this far in the WNIT since the 2010-11 season.

    This Dukes team is also the largest local collegiate team to remain in the tournament. The Pitt men floundered in the NIT, the Pitt women had a tremendous season that ended Monday in Tennessee and the Duquesne men had another trying season that saw road struggles.


    This is a different Dukes team than the one that lost 79-60 Dec. 10 at Morgantown. This version of the Dukes is one that proudly wears Heart Over Hype t-shirts, has a true love for the person next to them and plain and simple does not want this special season to end.

    “We’re going to figure out what West Virginia does and we’re going to go down there and give it our best shot,” Burt said.

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