PITTSBURGH — The Duquesne women’s basketball team has stretched its winning streak to three with a 69-60 over Canisius Wednesday at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.
“I think we’ve been better at stringing a game along, a full 40 minutes,” graduate student guard Halle Bovell said. “Today wasn’t great, at the end of the game we unraveled but coming out strong instead of wavering in the first quarter, we are bringing more confidence as a team.”
Duquesne (4-4) was led by Precious Johnson’s season-high 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting. Johnson’s efforts helped Duquesne enjoy a 32-18 advantage in the paint.
“Just knowing I am more capable of doing it and just being more consistent with it,” she said of her performance. “It definitely built my confidence, that’s what I need to do in future games.”
Fatou Pouye added 19 points off the bench as her play held Duquesne break through during stretches in which it was stagnant.
Megan McConnell set a career high with her 10 assists and came within one point of her second-ever double double, settling for nine points. She committed her lone turnover inside the final minute of regulation.
Duquesne had 20 assists on 27 made field goals.
Canisius (2-5) saw Lydia Gattozzi score 15 points on the bench to pace the Golden Griffins. Both Dani Haskell and Erika Joseph scored 12 points, while Shaunae Brown added 11 points.
Early on Duquesne proved to be the aggressors as both sides of the ball were played with speed and urgency.
The Dukes shot 64.3% from the field, assisting on seven of nine made baskets.
Duquesne allowed for the paint to be a focal point as evidenced by 10 of its 21 points being scored from the inside.
After Johnson was given a post touch from Tess Myers, she converted a layup and Libby Bazelak swished a three-point shot to allow Duquesne’s offense to continue to flow. Bazelak scored seven points in the opening quarter.
Pouye also provided a lift with her five points in the period.
Following 10 minutes of play, Duquesne led Canisius by a 21-12 score.
Duquesne’s offense was harder to come by at the start of the second quarter as it opened one-for-its-first-six from the field.
Canisius was unable to take advantage of this lull, as it went on a dry spell of its own on three-point shots, an aspect which it views crucial towards offensive success. This fact was evidenced by 15 of its 26 shots coming from deep, with four falling.
McConnell provided a balanced first half with her six points and six assists while not committing any turnovers in 17 minutes of play, while Pouye also added four first-half assists.
Halle Bovell was also left wide open on the wing and was able to make her first basket since Mar. 8, 2019.
Duquesne was able to take a 39-23 lead into the halftime break.
It was another slow start as Duquesne shot 1-for-8 to open the third quarter. During that time, Dukes coach Dan Burt called two timeouts. The first was to avoid a jump ball and Duquesne largely went cold at that point as Canisius rode a 7-0 scoring run to cut its deficit to 10 points, which activated the second timeout.
Pouye responded on both ends as she scored two baskets and also earned a steal.
Meanwhile McConnell continued to involve her teammates feeding Johnson for two and-one plays, as Duquesne led 57-41 after three quarters.
Another slow start allowed Canisius to score nine of the final quarter’s opening 12 points, as again the deficit was reduced to 10 points.
Canisius had one final run using an 8-0 spree as Duquesne went scoreless for over two minutes, cutting the deficit to eight points, but it ran out of time.
Even so, Duquesne coach Dan Burt was disappointed with how his team closed the game, though he was pleased to walk into a quiet locker room, something which was commonplace over the years when a successful team had a positive outcome, but felt it fell short of personal expectations.
“People were not happy and that’s the way it should be, the way Duquesne basketball has been,” said Burt. “Our performance was not up to the standard it needs to be. You want the kids to not be happy. We didn’t execute and we didn’t perform up to our capability.”
Duquesne remains home for a Sunday afternoon contest against Temple slated for a 1 p.m. start on ESPN+.