The Duquesne Women’s Basketball Team took Dayton to its limit Wednesday night at UD Arena, with the Dukes attempting to hand the Flyers their first loss in Atlantic 10 play, but a one-sided fourth quarter determined the outcome of this contest.
It was Dayton defending its homecourt in the final 10 minutes, with a 17-6 advantage that saw it emerge with a 60-54 victory and ended Duquesne’s three-game winning streak.
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“We dictated a lot of the game and led for a large majority of the game, especially after going down 14-4 and they could have run us out of the building,” Duquesne coach Dan Burt said. “We took a great punch there and came back to take the lead for a significant amount of time. In the third they punched us again and we came back and took the lead again. The last three minutes of the game I think fatigue set in and some details that we needed to be better at we didn’t execute with. That was the game. I am incredibly proud of our effort and our energy all game long. That’s the best team we’ve played all year and we gave them everything they could handle.”
Duquesne (9-12/4-5 Atlantic 10) was led by Tess Myers, who scored 17 points, on five three-point baskets.
“They face guarded her most of the game,” said Burt. “They were very aware of where she was the whole time, so we tried to use her as a screener, and she would get a screen off of that and she would pull a lot of her threes off transition. She’s just a terrific basketball player.”
Amaya Hamilton scored 11 points for the Dukes and was a key to keeping the visitors in front during the third quarter. Megan McConnell totaled both seven points and seven rebounds.
Dayton (17-3/8-0 A-10) had four players achieve double figures with both Jenna Giacone and Erin Whalen leading the way with 13 points. Kyla Whitehead earned a double-double with her 11 points and 13 rebounds. Makira Cook, Dayton’s leading scorer, also amassed a double-double draining 11 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
In this contest, Dayton won the rebounding battle by a 47-24 count, specifically 14-2 on the offensive end.
The Flyers scored this game’s first basket within the opening five seconds and used a 10-0 run to lead by double digits, activating an early Duquesne timeout.
Coming out of the stoppage, Duquesne switched into a zone defense and were able to get into an offensive rhythm, matching the 10-0 run and tying the contest at 14.
Dayton would briefly reclaim the lead as the Flyers had a 5-0 offensive rebounding edge in the first period and Whitehead would convert a second-chance opportunity.
It would be Duquesne which led 17-16 after one quarter after Precious Johnson nailed a three-point basket.
In the first period, six of the seven Duquesne players to see the floor scored, with the lone scoreless Duke, Halle Bovell, drawing a charge on Giacone.
Duquesne led for all but 24 seconds of the second quarter as Dayton’s Tenin Magassa opened the scoring for the Flyers.
At halftime, Duquesne was on top by a 30-25, as Myers converted a three-point basket off a Dayton turnover, one of nine in the opening 20 minutes.
Dayton came out a determined side in the third quarter, going on an 8-0 run, taking a three-point advantage after Araion Bradshaw swished a driving layup.
It was Hamilton who brought Duquesne back, first with a layup and then she answered a Dayton score with a three-point basket, again tying the game.
When Myers buried a triple, Duquesne would jump back in front. Though Dayton tied it again, Myers was again at the ready with another trifecta.
Following Myers’s deep basket, McConnell jumped the passing lane, earning her second steal of the evening and then converted a basket, despite being fouled. Even though McConnell missed the free throw, Dayton would give the ball right back after the Flyers mistakenly thought there were two foul shots, passing the ball to an official stationed out of bounds.
Duquesne would lead by the same five-point advantage it enjoyed at halftime, this time staying in front 48-43.
In the fourth quarter, a crucial stretch saw Duquesne held scoreless for nearly three minutes, which allowed Dayton to jump in front by three, though Myers again responded from beyond the arc.
After Johnson buried a jumper to put Duquesne in front, Giacone would bury a triple that led to a critical 6-0 Dayton run. In this time, Johnson picked up two quick fouls and was disqualified from the contest.
Missing its post, Duquesne had to go back to the drawing boards and went cold for the last 3:43 of the game. Duquesne called two timeouts in this stretch and in its first play after the stoppage were called for shot-clock violations in both instances.
“It’s very loud in there and Dayton played good defense and we didn’t have Precious to throw the ball to,” Burt said. “We’re a little bit by committee and we don’t have that one person who is going to go and get a bucket no matter what it is on the shot clock and that’s where we miss Amanda Kalin.”
Bradshaw made two free throws with 10 seconds remaining to secure the victory.
Duquesne will look to bounce back Saturday at 2 p.m. when it hosts Fordham in a contest carried by ESPN+.
“I can tell you the locker room had a lot of very upset women,” said Burt. “They believe and right now we’ve become a very dangerous team. Our best basketball will be in February and March, and I totally believe that. We’re not peaking, but we’re playing well at the right time and playing with a sense of urgency and toughness.”