Carlynton’s Richardson signs with Duquesne |
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Carlynton senior guard Conor Richardson signed her letter of intent to play basketball at Duquesune last week.

It took only one official visit for Carlynton basketball standout Conor Richardson to know where she wanted to continue her education and playing career.

After visiting Duquesne in August, Richardson verbally committed to the Dukes and cancelled official visits to La Salle, Seton Hall and Stetson. Last week, she made the commitment official and signed her letter of intent.

“At first, I never wanted to stay close to home,” the senior guard said. “Duquesne is 10 minutes from my house. But I went down there and I loved the campus. I already know some of the girls. You just get that feeling and I knew it was a great fit for me.”

Duquesne is a member of the Atlantic 10 conference. Coach Dan Burt led the team to a 20-13 record and the second round of the postseason WNIT tournament last year in his second season with the team.

“It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Richardson said. “All I have to worry about is graduating. It feels like I am about to start the next chapter of my life.”

Richardson wasn’t the only WPIAL athlete to commit to the Dukes as Blackhawk senior point guard Chassidy Omogrosso is also headed to the Bluff. Duquesne currently has five WPIAL players on its roster.

After missing her sophomore season because of a lower-body injury, Richardson averaged more than 21 points as a junior while leading the Cougars to their first appearance in the WPIAL quarterfinals since 2005.

“When we walk onto the court, I know I usually have the best player,” Carlynton coach Tim Bonner said. “When you have the best player, you have a good chance of winning the game. She brings a confidence to everyone else on the team and makes them better. But it is a two-way street and they have all helped her be better. It goes hand in hand.”

Even as the team’s leading scorer last season, Bonner said Richardson seems apprehensive coming off her injury.

“Last season she would pull up a little more than she normally would and relied on the 3,” Bonner said. “But over the summer, she maybe took two or three three-pointers. Everything else was driving to the hoop. She has gotten much better.

“None of this happened by accident. She has worked hard for everything she has got.”

The Cougars come into the season after going 19-4 a year ago and reaching the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals. In addition to Richardson, the team returns four of its starting five from last season with several bench players.

“We’re working on keep our heads straight and getting back into shape,” Richardson said. “We are getting the chemistry back we have always had. Our goal is to compete and go as far as we can.”

The Cougars start their season on Dec. 5 when they take on Bishop Canevin at 8:30 p.m.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at [email protected] or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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