A furious 24-5 Duquesne Women’s Basketball comeback fell just short as Tulsa got the better of the Dukes by a 65-59 count Thursday night at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.
Duquesne (5-2) was paced by Ayanna Townsend’s career-high 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Townsend also pulled down seven rebounds. Megan McConnell set a personal best with her 15 rebounds. It also was her fourth game with at least 10 rebounds this season.
Tulsa (5-2) saw Delanie Crawford lead the way with her 18-point, 12-rebound double-double. Jessika Evans also notched a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Both Temira Poindexter and Ahrray Young each scored 10 points.
Precious Johnson added 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting, achieving double figures for the third consecutive game. Tess Myers contributed 12 points towards Duquesne’s cause.
Tulsa scored six of the game’s first eight points as it crashed the offensive boards twice to open the game and were rewarded with a three-point play and a triple in consecutive possessions.
As Duquesne drew a charge and shored up the defensive end, it went off to the races, taking a 13-6 advantage, before Tulsa answered back to lead by one point at the first quarter media timeout.
In this time period, Townsend picked up two early fouls and was forced to take a quick exit for the remainder of the quarter.
On the positive side for Duquesne, Myers buried each of her first two three-point shot attempts, giving her some confidence.
After the 11-0 run was negated, Duquesne went scoreless for the final 5:38 and the streak extended into the second quarter, totaling 7:27 of game action, as the Dukes went cold from the field, airballed a free throw, were called for moving screens in consecutive possessions and just appeared a step behind on the defense end. The hosts also committed seven turnovers in the first quarter.
That said, Tulsa shot 35% from the field in the first quarter and held an 18-13 lead after 10 minutes of play.
Duquesne continued to struggle offensively as Tulsa continued to connect for offensive rebounds and second-chance possessions. With Duquesne not using a timeout, the Golden Hurricane continued to dictate play on both ends of the floor as the Dukes passes became less crisp and were one-for-five from the field before the second media timeout.
In that same period, Tulsa made three triples, while Duquesne missed both of its attempts, all part of a 28-6 Golden Hurricane run.
Burt only further became frustrated when he expressed disagreement with the officials assessing a charging foul on McConnell right as the halftime buzzer sounded. After a review, the foul stood and 0.2 was placed back on the clock. Burt had a lengthy discussion with official Rod Creech, well after the buzzer sounded but to no avail.
Tulsa led 38-25 at halftime and had a decisive 11-4 offensive rebound edge.
In the third quarter, Duquesne had some energy coming out of the locker room, as Naelle Bernard buried a triple and Tulsa missed its first few shots from the field, but this would not last long as the Golden Hurricane buried three of its next four three-point baskets to again lead comfortably heading into another stoppage.
Duquesne shot 23.8% from the field, its lowest percentage thus far, and though Tulsa also accomplished its least-effective shooting quarter, it still won the 10 minutes, extending the lead to 55-38.
Much like its predecessor, the fourth quarter saw the Dukes score the first five points and following an errant pass, Tulsa spent its first timeout, with its advantage cut to 12 points.
In total, it would be a 13-0 run which fired the fans up and separated the teams by five points.
Coming out of the Tulsa timeout, Olivia Westphal buried a three-point shot and then twice fed Johnson for open baskets.
The run ended, when Duquesne sold out for a rebound, but Evans had inside position and had an easy putback off of a miss.
Undeterred, Duquesne continued to chip away extending the run to the aforementioned 24-5 mark to trail by one point with the ball and 41.4 seconds remaining.
Down one point, Duquesne allowed Townsend to go to work, but her shot came before the post and was off the mark. A Tulsa rebound began the foul game as the Dukes had three fouls to give before getting to free throws.
Duquesne will look to regroup Sunday when it travels to Delaware to play the Blue Hens. The contest is scheduled for a 2 p.m. tipoff on FloHoops.