McCANDLESS TOWNSHIP, Pa. — It was a play that the Rhode Island Women’s Basketball team has probably practiced several times as Nicole Jorgensen grabbed a rebound and tossed a short-underhand scoop pass to teammate Erin Jones, but the latter did not turn around in time and with Duquesne’s Nina Aho trailing on the play, this sequence resulted in a turnover.
Duquesne controlled much of Tuesday evening’s play earning a 70-53 Atlantic 10 Championship First Round victory over Rhode Island for the second consecutive season.
It was Rhode Island which got off to an early quick start leading 5-2, before Amanda Kalin hit a three-point shot to get Duquesne back on track.
Duquesne was led by Kalin’s career-high 24 points on 11-of-13 shooting. and seven rebounds. Laia Sole added 12 points. Duquesne scored 52 points in the paint.
Nicole Jorgensen paced Rhode Island with 31 points, which is one off a season high and nine rebounds. Erin Jones added 10 points.
Duquesne did not solidify its lead of the evening until Laia Sole converted a basket with 3:48 remaining in the first quarter.
Sole’s basket was part of a 12-0 Duquesne run that allowed the Dukes to stretch their lead to 19-11 after 10 minutes of play. The run was 8-0 at the end of the first quarter, but was further bolstered by baskets from Sole and Kalin, which activated a Rhode Island timeout.
Davida Dale who was a big key to Rhode Island having a strong start to its regular-season meeting, was held to two points on 1-of-6 shooting, while also dealing with three fouls she picked up, something which affected both her and the Rams as a whole. Dale would finish with four points on 1-of-12 shooting.
Rhode Island’s bench was not able to pick up the pace scoring two points in the first half.
When Duquesne did turn the ball over, which happened six times in the first half, Rhode Island did not capitalize scoring two points, while the Dukes scored 11 points off nine Ram miscues.
At the half, Duquesne led Rhode Island by a 32-19 score.
Duquesne continued to share the basketball as evidenced by its opening possession in the third quarter where all five Dukes on the floor touched the ball. As the shot clock wound down, Sole found an open Bazelak who was cutting towards the basket for a high-percentage layup.
Though Duquesne controlled the pace early on in the third quarter, Jorgensen was able to score multiple three-point plays, as she continued to establish herself as a force in the post.
Rhode Island cut its deficit to 12 points, before Jorgensen picked up her fourth foul, a whistle which again changed momentum.
With Jorgensen out, Duquesne was again able to move the basketball with more purpose as Bazelak and Paige Cannon hit consecutive three-point baskets, placing the Dukes back in in control.
Rhode Island won a rather even fourth quarter.
Duquesne will advanced to Atlantic 10 Championship play Fordham. Friday evening with an estimated 7 p.m. tip time. Dayton’s UD Arena will host the remaining games in the A-10 Championship and Duquesne’s contest with Fordham is the fourth and final quarterfinal. Duquesne bested Fordham by a 74-63 score Feb. 25 at Robert Morris’s UPMC Events Center.