Duquesne Women's Basketball
Duquesne WBB Determined For Deep A-10 Tournament Run
The Duquesne Women’s Basketball Team begins what it affectionately calls a third season Wednesday when it faces Loyola Chicago in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Championship.
Duquesne most recently fell in Saturday’s regular-season finale at Saint Joseph’s falling to the 10 seed, meaning it would start play Wednesday as opposed to a day later.
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“I think they have responded well,” Duquesne Associate Head Coach Cherie Lea said. “I thought we had a good practice Monday, good energy, good focus, competitive, talking. Going into the (conference championship) anything can happen. It doesn’t matter what your regular season record was, right now we are in a good space and have been playing hard and competing. Anybody can win this tournament and that’s the attitude we have going up there.”
Sophomore guard Megan McConnell agreed with Lea that the energy is there and believes the Dukes displayed good short-term memory in leaving Saturday behind.
Now it is go time.
“We all definitely have that mindset, it’s win or go home,” she said. “I think we got the side of the bracket that we wanted, we’re happy with it and we think we can make a long run. We just have to be dialed in and keep doing what we do best.”
That side of the bracket McConnell refers to would have Duquesne playing George Washington if it were to win Wednesday, with second-seeded Rhode Island awaiting that winner.
The Atlantic 10 has displayed more depth than quite possibly ever with multiple staffers reminding the team that it was three possessions away from a fourth seed and the double bye which have come with that, if all games are examined under the microscope.
Duquesne just played Loyola Chicago this past Wednesday, winning 71-61. The Ramblers placed last during regular season play.
“They are one of the best in turning defense to offense, they move that ball up the court from side to side,” said Lea. “They are a well-coached team, it was very competitive when we played them last week, so we are not taking them lightly. We know they can come in and pack a punch. We have to be prepared and ready to go. Defensively we have to stay true to who we are, sit, guard, protect the basket and rebound. Offensively we have to trust each other, move the ball, don’t let it stick and play at a high level.”
McConnell agreed with Lea understanding that now it was watching film on what mistakes were made in the previous game and continuing to work to become the best version of themselves.
“It’s definitely refreshing knowing we came off with a win at our place, but they were in it the whole time,” the guard replied. “They were up for most of the game, and we ended up pulling away in the fourth quarter, so we know this is going to be a dog fight. We just have to play our game and we’ll be fine.”
Before McConnell left halfcourt, she was asked how Duquesne would find fun in what it hopes to be a long week in Wilmington and while she smiled, her answer was very telling.
“We’re strictly there for business,” McConnell matter-of-factly stated.