Following a City Game setback to Pitt, Duquesne got back to its winning ways, besting Akron 58-47 Tuesday night at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.
Duquesne (2-4) was led by graduate student center Laia Sole’s 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field. Sole returned from injury just south of two weeks ago and easily eclipsed her previous best of three points scored at Tulsa. Amaya Hamilton joined Sole in double figured with her 12 points, while also adding five rebounds. Precious Johnson grabbed eight rebounds in 14 minutes of work, while teammate Halle Bovell added seven rebounds.
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Akron (2-2) saw Lonasia Brewer flirt with a double-double, instead settling for 10 points and nine rebounds. Leading scorer Jordyn Dawson was held to four points on 1-for-11 shooting.
Duquesne conceded the first eight points of the contest as it attempted to start in a zone, which largely proved successful against a Pitt side, but early on did not obtain the same edge Tuesday.
Coach Dan Burt quickly adjusted with a man defense which slowed down the Akron attack in the first quarter. While the defense got back into form, the offense had its struggles firing at a 30.8% clip in the opening frame.
Duquesne was able to rally after McConnell got her team on the board nearly four minutes into the quarter. A Tess Myers three-point basket brought Duquesne back within one possession at 14-12, which wound up being the where the first quarter concluded.
In the second quarter, Akron could not provide much separation and ultimately surrendered the lead another Myers three-point shot. Duquesne trailed 27-26 at halftime but were able to score 13 points off eight Akron turnovers. Sole, who started in the third quarter, was fed early as she converts two paint baskets, placing the Dukes back in front. That set the tone as Duquesne scored 10 of its 17 third-quarter points from the paint, a different attack from a mainly perimeter-shooting team in the first half.
Akron’s third-quarter scorer Regan Bass was in foul trouble, which provided Duquesne with a defensive opportunity it took advantage of, holding the Zips to a 20% shooting clip. At the end of the quarter, Sole beat the buzzer on a mid-range jumper, a basket which seemed to surprise her.
This momentum carried over into the fourth quarter as Hamilton converted a layup and Sole successfully converted an and-one play.
When Hamilton found Sole, the latter elected to try a shot from three-point range which fell and activated an Akron time out, with Duquesne up by 16 points, as the Dukes enjoyed a 10-0 run dating back to the third quarter.
The run was extended to 25-6 overall as Akron was held scoreless for 5:29 of game action and culminated in Libby Bazelak finding Hamilton for a three-point basket.
Duquesne will next travel to play at Sienna Saturday at 2 p.m. in a contest carried by ESPN+.