PITTSBURGH — In a fight between two high mid-major schools, Duquesne (4-5) shot the ball poorly in the second half and were unable to keep up with Temple (5-3), losing 67-55.
The Dukes took charge late in the second quarter, going into halftime with the lead, but failed to build rhythm offensively in the second half, as they were outscored 40-23. Duquesne head coach Dan Burt talked about how his team’s inability to make shots was the main reason for the defeat against the Owls.
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“We don’t deserve to win a basketball game when we shot 10-19 from the free throw line and when we’re 5-27 from the 3-point line,” Burt said. “As valiantly, as tough and as proud I am with how they played, we didn’t play a great game.”
The first quarter remained quite even, with Temple holding a slight 14-11 lead. Graduate guard Jalynn Holmes led the Owls with six points, while the Dukes had scoring from five different players.
Duquesne put pressure immediately in the second quarter. Graduate guard Fatou Pouye and graduate center Laia Solé made layups, sophomore guard/forward Amaya Hamilton made a jumper, and then graduate guard Halle Bovell converted an and-one opportunity to cap a 9-1 run and give Duquesne a 20-15 lead.
The Owls responded with a 7-1 run to take the lead back later in the second quarter, 27-24. The Dukes finished out the period strong, thanks to first-year guard Megan McConnell, who made a 3-pointer and two free throws, and graduate guard Libby Bazelak, who made a 3-pointer as well. This capped an 8-0 run to end the first half and gave the Dukes a 32-27 lead.
The second half was where Temple was able to break away from Duquesne and take the lead and the game. Temple outscored Duquesne, 19-12 and 21-11 in the third and fourth quarter respectively.
The Owls shot the ball much better than the Dukes in the second half as well, going 14 for 27, 51.9% from the field compared to the Dukes’ 8 for 30, 26.7% shooting. The free throw shooting was also a big difference between the teams, with the Owls making 9-10 from the line and the Dukes only making 5-12.
Despite the big difference in shooting between the teams in the second half, the game was close up until three quarters of the way through the fourth quarter, as it was tied at 51 with 7:25 remaining.
Temple was able to move the ball around, drive to the paint and draw fouls, as they closed the game on a 16-4 run, with seven of those points coming from free throws.
A big changing point in the game came late in the fourth quarter with three minutes to go. As Bazelak was boxing out Owls’ guard, first-year Jasha Clinton, Clinton went above her and got the ball back, getting it to junior forward Alexa Williamson, who made the mid-range jumper
Burt was irate on the sideline and demanded an explanation for the missed over-the-back foul call. Instead, he was given a technical foul and Temple took advantage of that, extending the lead to nine and the victory shortly afterwards.
Burt said that he was displeased with how Bazelak, who is harboring an injury, was knocked down to the ground with no foul and on another call that gave Temple more of a lead. McConnell shared similar feelings with her coach and was incredulous over the no-call.
“I would never blame a game on a ref, but I think the turning point was when they didn’t call an over-the-back on Libby [Bazelak],” McConnell said. “I mean she boxed out, she got position, you have to call that because that’s our ball and they don’t get a basket there. So then they got two free throws and the ball back. So I think as a ref, you need to call that, because she had position, but it’s over with. There’s other things we could’ve done to win.”
Duquesne will look to get back on track this Wednesday as they take on Kent State (6-1) on the road at 7 p.m.