As Duquesne women’s basketball coach Dan Burt commanded the huddle he tried explaining what he was looking for by describing being in the ocean and with the waterline right at nose level a choice was being made.
Would his team tread water, drown or swim safely to shore?
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It was a tale from two halves for Duquesne in its sixth consecutive losing effort, this one a 67-63 defeat against La Salle at LaRoche University’s Kerr Fitness Center.
Duquesne had a six-point first quarter and committed 19 turnovers on the afternoon.
“We’ve gone down this road a lot this year losing close games and at some point we have to eliminate the mental mistakes,” Burt said. “The desperation we played with in the third and fourth quarter, I just don’t understand why I have to ask for that kind of play to start the game. That’s the biggest disappointment. Our lack of playing hard across the board is disappointing in the first and second quarter.”
Now Duquesne’s task is to avoid finger pointing, which as a 2-7 team is the easy option, especially given the team’s pedigree both historically and even with the squad’s current makeup.
Once again, Duquesne is at the drawing board and Burt believes both mental and physical work need to be done between now and Friday which is the team’s next scheduled contest at Davidson, though that is in question as the Wildcats played a Dayton team which since had a positive COVID-19 test.
Burt has indicated that Duquesne is not giving up on the season, nor each other.
Though freshman guard Megan McConnell is unsure of why the team has been starting so slowly in recent games, she remains optimistic that things will turn around.
“If we can have a lead at the beginning I think we can pull out a win,” she said. “We get so far down and we have to use all of our energy to get back into the game. If we eliminate that and punch the opponent first I think we can come out with a win.”
. Duquesne welcomed Libby Bazelak Sunday afternoon from her undisclosed injury. Bazelak checked in during the first quarter and ultimately was held scoreless over her 11 minutes, missing both of her three-point attempts.
Bazelak was an Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference and All-Defensive Selection primarily based on last season’s accomplishments where despite battling through an injury then, found a leadership role while succeeding in changing games in multiple ways.
Now that Bazelak is back it will certainly take time for her to get back into a pace with her teammates who have played nine games this season.
As for how long the timetable to get closer to 100% is, that is anybody’s guess.
“There’s two answers to that,” Burt said. “There’s the answer of I don’t know. I don’t know how she feels tomorrow. Then there’s the other side that La Salle was very smart to attack her and put her into isolations. I would’ve done the same thing. When you haven’t had much practice and have an injury you’re coming back from, people are going to do that to you. The best answer I can give you is I don’t know right now.”
. Lindsey Linard & Diamond Bragg were two definite bright spots in Sunday’s game.
With Laia Sole being held to three points in 12 minutes due to lack of scoring and hustling, Linard saw more time scoring five points and four rebounds in 11 minutes.
Linard, who was supposed to redshirt this season, has seen inconsistent court time this year but when she is in takes advantage of that time.
“Lindsey has been fantastic all year in terms of always remaining positive when her minutes have been all over the place,” Burt said. “She’s answered the bell every single time. That is something we really need to think about. I think you’ll see more of Lindsey as we move forward because she’s been effective.”
As for Bragg, this is Burt’s second consecutive game praising his junior transfer guard. Bragg scored 11 points and grabbed a career high nine rebounds in 33 minutes of work.
“Diamond needed positivity in her basketball career,” said Burt. “We’ve given her a leash that is fairly long to make some mistakes and play through those. The success of that was born today in what she did attacking the basket. We haven’t seen her attack that much in any other game. Her efforts were outstanding today.”
HE SAID IT
“There’s a lot of coaches talking about why are we playing. Kim Mulkey of Baylor said something along those lines last night. I understand why we are playing and frankly for our players and myself, there are advantages to that but I also can see disadvantages to it. I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. We’ve only had one positive test and that was isolated over the course of how many months we’ve tested three times a week. Everytime we test negative as a group we celebrate that as a win. I don’t know if there is another team in the A-10 men or women that hasn’t been shut down like us and had such limited issues with COVID. We’re proud that our women, staff and everyone associated with our program has really been diligent with protocols. It has allowed us to play basketball.” – Burt debating merits of playing with several A-10 games potentially not being played this week.