The frustration was evident almost immediately as both Duquesne Women’s Basketball guards Libby Bazelak and Megan McConnell took to their postgame press conference, heads in hands trying to process what had just happened.
George Washington visited the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse and earned its first Atlantic 10 victory of the season 50-48 Wednesday evening over a Duquesne side which appeared to come into the game with a certain degree of confidence after close losses at Dayton and against Fordham.
Duquesne basketball on Pittsburgh Sports Now is sponsored by The Summit Academy: setting young men on the path to a better future.
From the beginning, Duquesne simply appeared losses and there were plenty of blank faces trying to figure out answers which were not developing at a quick enough pace.
“We got a lot of shots that we wanted, and the ball didn’t go in the basket,” Duquesne coach Dan Burt said. “When you shoot 23% from the field, 25% from the three-point line and 65% from the free-throw line, you’re not giving yourself many chances to win. Are we disappointed in this? You better believe we are. It is a game we let slip away like so many this year. This one is a bitter pill to swallow.”
A lot of the same problems that plagued Duquesne again reared their collective head in this game. Perhaps most notably was any play at the end of a shot clock.
Sure, Duquesne minimized its turnovers with 10, but in many high-pressure situations, guards would be stuck and either force a pass or a shot as time expired on the shot clock which only hung heads further.
Duquesne guard Megan McConnell made a point of mentioning this in her postgame press conference, expressing the difficulties of letting a shot go, something Libby Bazelak profusely agreed with.
“When I’m chucking up shots at the end of the shot clock, I see myself missing so much, that’s frustrating,” she said. “Then I have my wide-open ones and I miss those too. Not to make excuses, but it’s frustrating for sure. We like to play in transition, but we couldn’t do that much today and couldn’t get the stops we wanted in order to go, so we have to figure that out too.”
Duquesne scored a season-low 20 points in the first half.
Bazelak also told reporters after the game that because of Duquesne’s injury situation, the offense changed halfway through the season, and she readily admitted that there is still plenty of learning going on and that the team was a little lost.
For his part, Burt stated Duquesne is mostly playing with seven players and in some cases eight.
While there was a cooling off period, it was clear that Wednesday’s game needed more than the standard 10 minutes.
Burt admitted that did not say much, citing a need to see the film, but more importantly did not desire to become too emotional.
Staring across the court, Duquesne saw a GW team that played with some desperation, specifically in the fourth quarter as it tried to earn Caroline McCombs her first A-10 victory as the team’s coach.
There was an acknowledgement about GW’s effort in the final 10 minutes, but also a frustration that despite everyone’s tireless work ethic, the result has been consistently the same regardless of opponent.
“We’re at that point now,” said Burt. “We’ve lost so many close games. Where do we turn the corner? Where’s the tipping point? Where do we get better so we can finish teams and games off?”
Bazelak maintained that the team itself has been positive and that it will be on the team to not only maintain that positivity, but also find ways to put the ball in the basket in that fourth quarter.
Across the board there was agreement that this will be a big area of concern which needs addressed in these next five games before the A-10 Championship commences, beginning with a nationally televised contest Sunday afternoon at UMass.
“We are game planning and trying to find a way every day for countless hours and I know that our kids have continued to have very high spirits, positive spirits and that’s not coach speak and I’m not trying to defend them,” Burt said. “They continue to come in on their own and work out very hard. This one’s going to be a hit; we’re going to have to get them back a little bit. We have to find a way to close out people and we’re not there yet. We’re going to search until the end to find that. The end for us is basically this is a five-game regular season left and hopefully more than one tournament game. We’ve got to treat every game from now on like it’s the conference tournament.”