The Duquesne women’s basketball team fell to UCF, 68-39, in their season opener Tuesday night at Addition Financial Arena in Orlando, Fla. UCF returned its entire starting lineup from last year and is coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, so it was a good test for Duquesne to tip the season off.
Duquesne came out strong, but UCF was ultimately just too much for the Dukes to handle. Duquesne was tied with UCF, 14-14, at the end of the first quarter and trailed by just two points at halftime, 24-22. Freshman guard Tess Myers led Duquesne in points with 11 in the first half, while UCF guard Ahna Burney led the Knights with 11 points, as well. Myers and Burney both made three 3-pointers in the first two quarters also.
It was a sloppy first half for Duquesne and UCF, as both teams shot near 30 percent from the field and turned the ball over frequently. The Dukes turned the ball over 11 times and UCF gave up possession seven times.
UCF broke away from Duquesne in the third quarter, as the Knights outscored the Dukes, 18-9. The Dukes really struggled with UCF’s full court-press and it resulted in five turnovers in the last six minutes of the third quarter. In total, Duquesne turned the ball over 18 times through three quarters which led to 14 points.
UCF’s offense came to life in the second half, as the Knights moved the ball around really well and shot the ball efficiently from the perimeter. Guard Diamond Battles nailed three triples and Burney converted another one from downtown. Forward Masseny Kaba also had 11 points coming off the bench, with most of those points coming in the final two quarters.
The Knights outscored Duquesne 44-17 in the second half. Turnovers really hurt the Dukes in the game, as they gave up possession 23 times. They just couldn’t figure out UFC’s full-court press.
The Knights finished the game shooting 37.9 percent from the field, which was a big improvement from the first half when they were below 30 percent. The Dukes finished with a 28.8 shooting percentage.
Myers led the Dukes in scoring with 16 points and made four three-pointers. Center Precious Johnson was second in scoring with seven points. Guard Meghan McConnell had four points and led the Dukes in assists with five.
Burney and Battles both had 16 points apiece for UFC, which led the Knights. Burney and Battles also each had four three-pointers on the night. Kaba finished the game with 11 points and had nine total rebounds (two on offense and seven on defense). Guard Alisha Lewis led the Knights in assists with eight.
The Dukes’ next game is on Nov. 11 at Tulsa. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. The game can be streamed on ESPN+.