PITTSBURGH– Duquesne women’s basketball coach Dan Burt was trying to process what just transpired 15 minutes prior with his Dukes playing in their home gym and dropping a 76-34 contest to Fordham.
Duquesne scored its lowest point total since 1975, while Fordham made 10 of its first 12 three-point shots.
“Sometimes you have incredible games when you shoot the ball exceptionally well,” Burt said. “Today Fordham played an incredible basketball game, they proved how good they are. On our end it certainly is bitter but an accomplished group of seniors kind of go out in a game like this. We expect to continue to play and get a WNIT bid. We’re hoping that will happen.”
Kadri-Ann Lass scored nine points, which led Duquesne (19-13) in this contest.
Fordham (24-8) was led by Bre Cavanaugh and Bre Cavanaugh, each of whome scored 19 points.
Duquesne shot 44.4% from the field in the first quarter but were outscored 26-9 in the stanza. The Dukes would go cold from the field shooting 0-for-9 in the second quarter as Fordham extended its lead to 46-16 at halftime.
“It definitely is frustrating when you can’t make a shot and the other team doesn’t seem to miss,” Duquesne senior forward Kadri-Ann Lass said. “We definitely tried fighting back and finding a way to score and stop them.”
Duquesne tried to fight back in the contest but could not consistently match stops with baskets, while Fordham continued to do both at a high rate.
“Anything and everything they wanted,” said Burt. “They are a tremendous defensive team and their kids are so dialed in to being aggressive and playing with their feet, yet their hands are active. It’s all mental. At one point they were 10-for-12 from the three-point line. Some days you have that. They played with such great confidence and poise and we just couldn’t stop it today.”
As the game drew closer to its conclusion, Burt was able to substitute his seniors from the game one at a time, though Eniko Kuttor got to play the entire fourth quarter.
That class which consists of Kuttor, Lass, Chassidy Omogrosso, Conor Richardson and Julijana Vojinovic is third all-time with 90 wins.
Each senior was overcome with emotion as she was taken out of the game with the Palumbo Center applauding in approval.
Burt has previously said this season is a puzzle and that it has been interesting trying to get the pieces to fit, but there is one last piece Duquesne hopes to fill which is another WNIT berth.
“We’ve won 19 games, played a difficult schedule a lot on the road, and with success that we’ve had, we think we are a WNIT team and hope that is the case,” he said. “We have not lived up to our standards, so hopefully that NIT bid is there and we can make a run like last year. Where we were kind of like gypsies, barnstorming on the road and picking up a couple of wins.”
Speaking on behalf of the seniors, Lass agreed that the team wants to play more and views that despite a lopsided final score, that should not discourage the committee from rewarding a team which is playing its best basketball at the right time.
“This is not a way any of us want to go out and it would also be the first time in 11-12 years that our program would not have made the postseason and I don’t want that to happen,” said Lass. “We struggled a lot throughout the season but it seemed like we finally got it together and didn’t give up on the season. We showed the last seven games we were able to find our game.”
Duquesne certainly has a case, not to mention last season, Saint Louis, a 17-15 team was able to earn a berth and its WNIT experience is not as storied as the Dukes.
Burt expects the team to take a few days off to process this setback and then practice in preparation for what it hopes is the call to extend its season.
“I think everyone’s pretty numb right now,” Burt said. “We have played so well over the last or eight games. Right now it is a tough question to answer coming off getting your head beat in. Fordham looked like UConn tonight, that is the highest compliment I can give them. If they can play like that, they are a Sweet 16 team. We’ll worry about that in a week. We’re going to take 3-4 days off and then make sure we stay in some rhythm.”