Duquesne senior guard Amanda Kalin was dribbling down the court attempting to cross over a Dayton player when she fell to the floor in clear pain.
A quick look of sadness came across the face of coach Dan Burt.
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Kalin made significant strides both during the offseason and in season . She became a leader by example and unselfishly took over a point guard position that was opened up by Libby Bazelak’s injury which has prevented her playing this season.
The injury occurred just prior to halftime and she did not return to the game though the CBS Sports Network broadcast showed her on the team bench with crutches.
“I just call it really sadness to be frank,” Burt said. “Obviously I can’t show that type of emotion when I walk into the locker room at halftime but our kids were very much devastated in the locker room at halftime with what they saw. If you saw it and I did see it, it’s not good.”
As Burt spoke following the game, Kalin was being looked at by doctors.
Now Duquesne is without two of its senior leaders, though the timetable on a potential return for one or both is unknown at this time.
Additionally Halle Bovell who suffered a season-ending injury prior to last season was slated to return to the team around this time and that will no longer be the case.
“It’s a very difficult year when you lose two kids that are very good players that are really the foundation of what your team is going to be,” said Burt.
Though the game certainly felt secondary after Kalin’s injury, Duquesne tried to play on, but fell 64-48 at Dayton’s UD Arena Sunday afternoon.
“When you shoot 25% from the field, it’s very rare when you can win a basketball game,” Burt said. “Credit goes to Dayton for making us physically uncomfortable and putting us in positions where it was difficult for us the score. We missed a lot of point blank shots early and against a good team like Dayton, you cannot do that.”
. Once again Duquesne will be searching for answers.
For starters, despite shooting at such a low clip it was a -13 on rebounds to a Dayton team which physically had its way with Duquesne.
Additionally, Laia Sole, an Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Second Team selection had two points and was 0-for-8 against Dayton while Precious Johnson was held to a point and battled foul trouble, meaning both of the team’s starting posts were unable to establish dominance on the offensive end.
Offensively it was a challenging afternoon for Duquesne as it shot 25.5% from the field and were 16.7% from the field.
To its credit, Duquesne did drive and get to the free-throw line where it was 17-for-26.
Though Duquesne had some screen action, Dayton went underneath each one, daring for a shot to go up.
Burt believes offensively Duquesne did not take enough shots and that there was too much deferring to upperclasmen.
“The schemes need to change anytime you’re two and four and you’re shooting as poorly as we do,” Burt said. “You have to look at what does work. You can’t have a moral victory by saying, well, we got the shot. Great, we got the shot. We ran an action that got us the shot, but it didn’t go in. So, does that mean that you have to play more in transition and more with a free flowing type of offense more of emotion based offense and less sets? I don’t know the answers to that right now. There’ll be a heavy emphasis on tape and will be searching for answers.”
. If Sunday’s game showed anything it is that Duquesne still has not found the right combinations and as Burt puts it, there is no flow.
Burt did not want to comment too much on it until he saw tape from this game but for a team pricing itself on putting the ball in the basket, it was missing partially contested layups and even struggled with clean passes and catches at times.
Duquesne’s season very well may be at its most crucial point this week having several days to practice before facing VCU, the preseason selection to win the A-10.
Burt does not know what will happen in terms of combinations and playing time, but it is clear that Meg McConnell will see the court after setting a career high with 15 points, a rare bright spot for Duquesne.
“We have flow and rhythm when Meg McConnell is in the game,” he said. “You can you can pretty much be assured that Meg is going to be a big part of (Friday). Beyond that I couldn’t tell you what’s going to happen.”
Indeed Duquesne’s best combination Sunday may have been with McConnell on the floor with Lindsey Linard, both of whom would have redshirted in a normal year and Diamond Bragg, walk on Caroline Elliott and Kirsten Elliott.
Duquesne outscored Dayton by seven points in the final 10 minutes.
“The group that we finished the fourth quarter with I thought for the first time this year played with some real grit and some real toughness,” said Burt. “I was really happy with how they dove on the floor and dug in on the post and drove it to the lane.”
HE SAID IT
“It’s going to be a situation where it’s going to have to be a dogfight for every game, and we’re going to have to do a better job as coaches and as players. We have to find ways to win because we are inexperienced and that inexperience doesn’t cut it with me anymore.” – Burt