PITTSBURGH — Duquesne made a comeback from a double-digit deficit at halftime to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but Davidson did just enough to secure a close, 66-65 win at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse Sunday afternoon.
The Dukes’ (13-7 overall, 3-4 Atlantic 10) loss is their fourth in a row to the Wildcats (10-9 overall, 3-2 Atlantic 10) starting in 2019. It is also the first loss at home for the Dukes in Atlantic 10 play and just the second loss at home this season.
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The Dukes head coach Dan Burt spoke on how tough the loss is for his team, despite their tough play. He also said that the 16 turnovers his team committed makes the difference in one-possession games in conference play.
“In a game where you win three of the quarters and you play well to the ending buzzer, you understand that this becomes a very tough, difficult loss for yourself, but more importantly for your players,” Burt said. “This one’s a tough one.”
Duquesne fell behind early in the first quarter, but used a 9-0 run off of three 3-pointers to lead 20-15 at the end of the period. Redshirt junior guard Lauren Waslyson hit two 3-pointers off the bench and sophomore guard Tess Myers hit a 3-pointer as well.
The Wildcats shot extremely well from 3-point range in the second quarter, 6-for-9 and also 9-for-15 from the field to build a 41-31 lead at halftime. The Dukes shot 3-for-11 from the field and 0-5 from behind the arc in the second quarter and also turned the ball over five times, making it hard for them to create rhythm offensively.
Duquesne cut into their deficit in the third quarter as they played much better defensively, holding Davidson to 23.1% shooting from the floor and 16.7% from 3-point range, to make it just a 51-47 lead for Davidson.
The Wildcats scored five points in the first two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter to put their lead back up to nine, but the Dukes kept fighting. They used a 12-0 run over four minutes, with a 3-pointer from Myers to put them up 59-56 with three minutes remaining.
Davidson redshirt sophomore guard Maddie Plank hit a 3-pointer to tie it and Myers once again hit a 3-pointer to regain the lead. Plank then made a layup a then a big 3-pointer with 16 seconds remaining to give Davidson a 64-62 lead.
Duquesne needed anything to go down and Myers hit an off balance 3-pointer to earn a 65-64 advantage with eight seconds left.
Duquesne guard Tess Myers just hit this incredible 3-pointer to give Duquesne the lead with 8.3 seconds remaining. Foul shot to come pic.twitter.com/vww9wxFSsR
— Dominic Campbell (@DOMISMONEY) January 22, 2023
Davidson senior forward Adelaide Fuller fouled Myers to send her to the line, but Myers missed the ensuing free throw.
Wildcats redshirt junior forward Ellie Sutphin, on the next possession, drove to the paint and the referees called a blocking foul on Dukes junior guard/forward Amaya Hamilton. Sutphin made both of her free throws to give the Wildcats a 66-65 lead with just two seconds remaining.
Duquesne had one last chance and junior forward Ayanna Townsend took a shot in the post that just missed to seal the defeat.
The Dukes junior center Precious Johnson appeared to injure her left knee in the third quarter. She came back into the game in the fourth quarter and provided important baskets for the team, as they managed to erase the deficit.
Myers finished with a team high 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting from behind the arc. This is the most points she has scored in conference play and the most since she scored 21 points against Howard at home on Dec. 22.
She spoke post game on Johnson’s presence and how important of a role she played in the comeback that fell just short.
“That was huge, just the post presence,” Myers said on Johnson. “They couldn’t guard her in that pick-and-roll with Megan [McConnell]. She came in and gave us a big spark. We definitely needed that.”
Sophomore guard Megan McConnell scored 12 points and led the Dukes with Townsend with 11 rebounds in the loss. She said postgame that she is proud of her team’s effort, but that they’ll need to sit with this loss for some time before looking at the next game.
“I think this one definitely hurt,” McConnell said. “I think we’ll take more time for this one because it was a winnable game and we needed to win that at home. We’ll be seeing them again. We’ll be fine.”
Duquense travels to face off against Dayton on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m., as they look for the first road win in Atlantic 10 play.