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Duquesne Women's Basketball

Duquesne WBB Announces Incoming Recruiting Class

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 Duquesne women’s basketball head coach Dan Burt has announced his recruiting class for the upcoming 2022-23 season.

This year’s class features two incoming freshmen, three Division I transfers and one junior college transfer.
Guards Reilly Sunday (Moon Township, Pa./Moon Area HS), Dea Pushkolli (Prishtina, Kosovo/Arizona Compass Prep) and Naelle Bernard (Paris, France/Maurice Ravel/Salt Lake City C.C.) are joined by frontcourt additions Ayanna Townsend (Pittsburgh, Pa./Winchester Thurston HS/Xavier), Selma Kulo (Lawrenceville, Ga./Brookwood HS/Western Kentucky) and Kaitlyn Ammons (Wana, W.Va./Morgantown HS/DePaul).

“This class is an experienced, tall and talented group,” Burt said. “We addressed our need for interior size along with bringing in high IQ players. All of them are excellent students and will integrate seamlessly onto The Bluff.”With this announcement, we should note that we have not completed our recruiting for the fall,” he added. “With the new landscape of college recruiting, we will be actively recruiting throughout the summer searching for future Duquesne Dukes.”

Sunday is a 5-9 freshman guard who earned All-State honors after helping lead Moon Area to the PIAA Class 5A girls basketball quarterfinals last season. Among her many accolades, she was named All-WPIAL, Post-Gazette Fab-5 and TribLive Terrific 10. Sunday scored 27 points in a win that helped Moon Area reach the WPIAL Semifinals for the first time in 15 years.

“Reilly is a point guard who has a very high basketball IQ,” Burt said. “She is a competitor on the court and has a strong work ethic that will serve her well at Duquesne. The highest compliment I can give Reilly is that her IQ is similar to Libby (Bazelak) at this stage. Reilly runs an offense like a veteran, uses her body well to score at the rim, and has improved her outside shot this spring.”

Pushkolli is a 5-11 freshman guard from Kosovo who spent the past three seasons playing high school basketball in the United States, including this past season at Arizona Compass Prep near Phoenix. Most recently, she represented her country at the 2021 European U20 Championships last July.

“I had an opportunity to watch Dea play at the 2017 FIBA Europe u16’s and at that young age, you could see her skill and IQ were high-level. Dea has successfully played high-level high school basketball here in the United States at Arizona Compass and at all age levels with her Kosovo National Team. We expect Dea to make an impact when she arrives at Duquesne this summer.”

Bernard is a 5-5 point guard who is transferring from Salt Lake City Community College. She helped the Bruins go 36-15 the past two seasons and led the team with 9.0 ppg. and 53 three-point field goals (1.8 per game) this past season. As a freshman at SLCCC, Bernard averaged 10.8 ppg. with 43 three pointers (2.0 per game) over 21 contests. She has three seasons of eligibility remaining.

“Quick, fast, skilled and with a high compete level – we are very excited about what Naelle brings to the Bluff,” Burt said. “Naelle shoots the three with side-step and step-back moves, along with very good change of pace dribbling skills. Naelle’s competitiveness and instant offense will help us be better immediately.”

Townsend is returning home to Pittsburgh after spending the past four seasons at Xavier. She started 28 games for the Musketeers in 2021-22 and averaged career bests of 9.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. She also ranked among the BIG EAST leaders in rebounding and shooting percentage (45.1 percent). A team captain, Townsend was named to the Dean’s List every semester and was recently named the BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She received a medical-redshirt her freshman year and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

“We are welcoming the BIG EAST Scholar Athlete of the Year as Ayanna has had a successful career on the court and in the classroom at her previous stop,” Burt said. “Ayanna brings high-level rebounding and interior scoring to our program. Her athleticism, defensive prowess and skill level are top notch. We expect Ayanna to make an immediate impact within our program.”

Kulo is a 6-4 center who spent the last two seasons at Western Kentucky. She played 27 games for the Hilltoppers this past season and led the team with 21 blocked shots, including a pair of four-block games. She will have three years of eligibility remaining.

“Selma is a legitimate 6-4 center possessing good hands, the ability to run well in transition, and an eagerness to learn,” Burt said. We believe that Selma’s best basketball is ahead of her. We are very excited for Selma’s future as a Duquesne Duke.”

Ammons appeared in 12 games for DePaul as a freshman last season after a prolific high school career in West Virginia. The 6-3 forward was a consensus All-State selection and averaged 16 points and nine rebounds a game at Morgantown High School her senior season. She was ranked the No. 1 prospect in West Virginia by the World Exposure Report and a top-100 recruit (No. 79) nationally in the class of 2021.

“Kaitlyn is a stretch-four who can also play center for us,” Burt said. “She is a skilled, athletic post player who can stretch defenses to the three-point line. We are excited to have Kaitlyn join our program. This summer will be a big summer for her development

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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