Duquesne Women's Basketball
Duquesne WBB’s Season Ends In Closing Seconds
Wilmington, Del. — The Duquesne Dukes fell in an Atlantic 10 Championship second-round game by a 71-68 score to George Washington Thursday evening at Chase Fieldhouse after Mia Lakstigala’s game-winning three-point shot in the game’s closing seconds.
ICE IN HER VIENS 🧊 @miaalakstigala puts us up 3 with 4.9 remaining!#RaiseHigh #A10WBB pic.twitter.com/foId5d94QS
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— GW Women's Basketball (@GW_WBB) March 2, 2023
“I’m incredibly proud of the team that I was fortunate enough to coach this year,” Duquesne coach Dan Burt said. “They are an incredible group of women that are the definition of student-athlete. When our program had hit some depths two years ago, we struggled through it together. This year was a turning point and to win 19 games we certainly brought back what Duquesne basketball has been. What happened today doesn’t take any luster away from what we have achieved and you can sure as heck bet that we’re going to go into the transfer portal and find a couple more players that are going to help us get back here and get deeper.”
Duquesne’s (19-12/8-8 A-10) Megan McConnell posted 17 points and set the program’s all-time mark for rebounds in a single season with a second-quarter board. McConnell added eight rebounds and eight assists to her postgame resume.
“It’s fantastic but it doesn’t put any salve on the wound of losing,” said Burt regarding the milestone. “Meg doesn’t give a crap about any statistic and when you look at what she did tonight, I think she’s the best point guard on the league and best on-ball defender too. One day when she gets older, she’ll be able to be happy about it, but right now, it’s not a lot of fun.”
Ayanna Townsend also got into the act with her 14 points and Precious Johnson 12 pts. The Dukes shot 49% from the field.
Wednesday Duquesne, specifically coach Dan Burt was very vocal reminding anyone who would listen about his squad’s 1-for-29 mark from three-point range in the regular season meeting between these two programs and the Dukes would connect on their first two three-point shots.
It was an offensively oriented half with Duquesne connecting six times from deep and firing at a 46.2% mark from the field. Not to be outdone, GW buried four triples, three of which came from Lakstigala and the Colonials shot 46.7% during the 20 minutes.
GW led for much of the opening quarter, though Duquesne was able to establish connection between Townsend and Precious Johnson. Townsend was able to post up, with Johnson advancing the ball inside leading to an and-one playing and another high-percentage layup.
Duquesne briefly led in the closing stretches of the first quarter following a Townsend free throw, but GW’s Asjah Inniss charged the lane, finishing with a right hand layup, allowing her team to lead 20-19 after one period.
In the second quarter, GW fed off that score, going on a 9-0 run as Duquesne had to go back to the drawing board.
The Dukes did just that as Tess Myers connected on her first three-point basket of the evening and then McConnell called her own number, first grabbing a rebound and then replicating Myer’s feat, separating the team by a pair of points.
Behind Lakstigala, GW stretched its advantage to six points, but that lead was cut in half, 36-33.
Down five, Amaya Hamilton provided Duquesne with a lift, to the tune of an and-one jump shot. On the Dukes next time down the court, she converted a reverse layup tying the contest.
After each side traded three-point baskets, GW used a key 10-1 run to create separation. Lauren Wasylson would give the Dukes some momentum with a three-point basket, but the Colonials remained in front by nine points.
It turned out that Wasylson’s basket, was the fuel Duquesne needed as the team used a 13-2 run to get back in control of the game.
Duquesne found timely shooting as McConnell converted an and-one play, Wasylson nailed another triple and McConnell found Johnson on the run.
“I liked that we kept on fighting,” Wasylson stated. “Every game you’re going to face adversity and we did, we hit a wall a couple of times, but we never gave up. We stuck through it all together and (Lakstigala) made a good play at the end. You can’t ask for anything more.”
Both teams then hit offensive lulls, though Hamilton sank a free throw to tie the game.
Duquesne would break out of its funk first as McConnell twice found Townsend on the same play, giving the Dukes an advantage.
The Dukes maintained the advantage with less than a minute left, when Lok connected for a layup. When Duquesne came up empty its next time down the court, GW missed a shot, but Taiwo grabbed the team’s 15th offensive rebound, allowing Lakstigala to take and make the game-winning three-pointer.
She’’s an elite-level athlete and I don’t throw that world around very much,” said Burt. “The ball was in PJ (Johnson’s) hands just very gingerly and getting to nestle into Precious’s hands and that young lady looked like she was on a pogo stick and just jumped completely over her, spun the ball out and (Lakstigala) hit a really big shot. It was a great basketball game, we played a good game, they played a little better.”
Myers’s potential game-tying three-point shot was blocked by Taiwo as GW dribbled out the closing seconds to secure victory.
Though Duquesne’s season now comes to an end, Wasylson is looking forward to next season and offered a promise of sorts.
“Next year is going to be scary,” she stated. “We have everybody returning, so you can bet that we’ll be back here and we’ll be up for the challenge.”