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Duquesne Basketball

Duquesne defeats La Salle, 67-48, For 3rd Straight Win

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Libby Bazelak’s triple-double led the Dukes to their third straight win after defeating La Salle, 67-48, on Saturday afternoon at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse. Coming into today’s game, La Salle was 11-7 and 4-2 in the Atlantic 10, while Duquesne was 8-11 and 3-4 in conference play. This was by far the Dukes’ most complete game of the season.

“I said in the locker room that this was the best game (that we played all season),” Megan McConnell said after the game. We all contributed; we all did something. And especially Libby, she got to accomplish her 1,000th career point and a triple-double in the same day. I’m happy for her. I’m happy for our team.”

Duquesne head coach Dan Burt agreed with McConnell’s assessment.

“I would say that’s been probably our best performance,” Burt said. “We’re starting to get healthy. Obviously, Libby Bazelak with a triple-double indicates that she’s healthy. When you look at the last four games, five games, you start to see Libby moving better, moving with more fluidity. The shots didn’t go down quite as much in the games prior to this. Today she shot the ball better. And the old Libby Bazelak looks to be back, and that’s a big thing for us. Our three guards, this is their best performance playing together all year.”

Bazelak’s triple-double consisted of 10 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Tess Myers led the Dukes with 20 points and made four three-pointers. Overall, the Dukes were 10-of-31 from behind the arc (32.8%), while La Salle was 5-of-28 (17.9%). From the field, Duquesne shot 41.9% and the Explorers had a 36.4% shooting percentage. Duquesne dominated La Salle in the assist’s stat, as the Dukes had 22 assists compared to the Explorers’ nine.

Gabby Crawford led La Salle with 22 points. Kayla Spruill, who is one of the best players in the conference, scored just seven points for the Explorers.

Along with Bazelak and Myers, McConnell was another guard who had a big game for the Dukes. McConnell had 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals. Burt praised McConnell’s defensive effort.

“Meg McConnell had five steals today and eight rebounds. Meg is a kid that you don’t enjoy playing against,” Burt said. “She loves to get up in you and guard you really tight and smile while she’s doing it. She’s annoying. I would not want to have to play against her. She’s one of the better defenders in the league, and she could do it for 40 minutes at the same level for all 40 minutes. That speaks to her athleticism and commitment.”

Duquesne center Precious Johnson nailed a three-pointer at the top of the key to put the Dukes up 20-16 at the end of the first quarter. Duquesne made four triples in the opening quarter, two of which came from Myers. With 7:23 left in the second quarter, Myers drained another three-pointer to give Duquesne a 23-16 advantage. Myers was 3-of-5 from behind the arc through a quarter and a half of play.

Duquesne outscored La Salle, 15-9, in the second quarter and went into halftime with a 35-25 lead. Myers and Bazelak made back-to-back triples at the end of the second quarter to give the Dukes a 13-point lead. Kayla Spruilli made a three-pointer at the buzzer to make it a 10-point halftime deficit.

The Dukes were 7-of-15 (46.7%) from behind the arc in the first half, and Myers made four triples on eight attempts. Myers led Duquesne with 14 points. The Explorers struggled when shooting deep, as they were 3-of-13 (23.1%) on three-point attempts. Duquesne was 13-of-28 (46.4%) from the field, while La Salle was 11-of-28 (39.3%). Crawford led the Explorers with eight points in the first half.

In the beginning of the third quarter, McConnell made a steal and drove down the court for a layup to put the Dukes up 39-27. It was McConnell’s third steal of the game. On the following possession, McConnell drained a three-pointer. Bazelak then converted a triple to give Duquesne a commanding 45-29 lead with 6:29 remaining in the third quarter. With under a minute left to play in the third quarter, McConnell had another steal and converted a layup, Bazelak had the assist on the play. McConnell’s basket gave the Dukes a 53-32 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

La Salle went on a 7-0 run early in the fourth quarter and cut the Dukes lead to 56-41 with 6:44 remaining. La Salle continued to battle back but they couldn’t get their deficit lower than 11 points. With 2:10 left, McConnell delivered an incredible pass down low to Johnson who made a layup and was fouled on the play. Johnson made the free throw and enhanced the Dukes’ lead to 63-47. Duquesne continued to dominate and won by 19 points, 67-48.

Duquesne’s next game is on Wednesday, Feb. 2, against Dayton on the road. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. and the game can be streamed on ESPN+.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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