Devistating Loss to St. Joe's, In More Ways than One

by Rogabee

First of all, I want to thank all the fans and students (even if it was only for Greek Week) that came out for the game and stayed for the duration.  I hope you enjoyed a great basketball performance at the Palumbo Center tonight. 

Unfortunately, you saw a heartbreaking loss in OT, one literally decided at the last second.  A loss that featured some of the Dukes weaknesses this year in free throw shooting and a cold shooting stretch in the first half.  And one that cost the Dukes one of its best players, Orsi Szecsi, to a shoulder injury.  A loss that is critically damaging to Duquesne's NCAA hopes.  However, I hope you enjoyed a great overall basketball game and the best display of women's basketball in Pittsburgh year, bar none.

Unfortunately, the last few seconds ultimately doomed the Dukes in a great basketball game.  One critical mistake - leaving Shields open for three in transition - gave the Hawks a one point lead with 50 seconds left.  After a huge dribble-drive layup by Hall to give the lead back to the Dukes, the questionable charge-block call gave Van Grinsven a pair of FTs, and she nailed 'em both.  Give credit to the Hawks for hitting critical FTs in regulation and OT against a rowdy student body to secure the win.   After a blocked layup by Floyd after a great inbounds play that got Jocelyn a half-step, April's shot was way too strong, crushing the Dukes and the fans in attendance.

It is rare that I am proud in defeat, but this is the proudest I've been in a long time after a heart-wrenching loss in OT.  The team - particularly the seniors in Floyd, Hall, and even V even though she didn't have her best game - played their hearts out, coming back from down 41-27 after the first media timeout in the second half to grab a 4 point lead in OT, and getting the 4 point lead without Orsi or Wumi in OT.  Doing it nonetheless against a solid road team that has only one road loss all year, at UCLA. 

Yet, much like the rest of the Duquesne community, the OT loss deeply.  It essentially means for an at-large we likely need to win out the rest of the regular season, including at Dayton, and also make it to the A10 final.  Doable?  Yes, but hard.  The road at UD Arena and the rest of the season (on TV Monday night at 9PM) will be even more difficult if Orsi can't go, particularly on the defensive end for the Dukes.  Here's hoping the shoulder injury isn't as bad as it looked tonight.

Solid overall game by many Dukes, and among the best overall performance (FT shooting aside, where we were 9-21 in regulation) I've seen out of any women's Dukes team ever.  Literally the entire roster chipped in with at least one or two - if not many more - positives.

Hats off to the Hawks for an extremely hard earned win at the Palumbo Center.  Here's to wishing you the best - unless we play you again in the tourney.

Hope to see some of you back at the Palumbo Center to finish off a great year, even if this loss hurts some of what could be.  Then again, if we play the way we finished the last 14 minutes of regulation and played in OT without your two best inside girls, Dayton is quite beatable...even in UD Arena.

As Always, Go Dukes...