Duquesne women hit their mark in victory
The Duquesne women’s basketball team trailed Xavier for most of the first half Wednesday and struggled to find a shooting rhythm to start the second but still managed a 68-49 win at Palumbo Center.
Orsi Szecsi led the Dukes with 15 points and added five rebounds, and Alex Gensler had 13 points and four assists. Wumi Agunbiade and Jocelyn Floyd each scored 10 points. Agunbiade added seven rebounds and four assists, while Floyd had six rebounds, four assists and eight steals.
The Dukes shot 37 percent from the field but went 15 of 24 from the free-throw line and forced Xavier into 27 turnovers, 17 in the second half.
“We stopped settling for jump shots and attacked going to the basket,” coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. “You look at the stat sheet, and Wumi goes one for nine, and Alex goes 5 of 19, and they’re our two leading scorers, but we got to the free-throw line so we found a way to score. We found a way to put points on the board, something we’ve been struggling to do, and a lot of it was created off of our defense.”
Duquesne (13-4, 1-1 Atlantic 10) led by five points at halftime but started the second half 0 for 11 from the field, allowing the Musketeers to get back in the game. Xavier (3-12, 0-2) took the lead with 15 minutes to play and pulled ahead by three, forcing McConnell-Serio to call a timeout.
The Dukes responded by turning up the pressure and forcing turnovers.
After Agunbiade tied the game with 11:29 remaining on a shot while falling backward, the offense began to click.
About 2.5 minutes later, the Dukes led by 10.
This was Duquesne’s first home game since a New Year’s Eve win over Robert Morris. The Dukes had lost two in a row on the road, including the Atlantic 10 opener against St. Bonaventure.
The Dukes are playing without senior point guard Vanessa Abel, who had surgery last week after being diagnosed with a stress fracture of the patella. Abel watched the game from the end of the bench, her left leg immobilized and propped on a Gatorade jug.
She was expected to miss three to six weeks, but that could change. McConnell-Serio said Abel will be re-evaluated within two weeks and then start rehabilitation.
“We won’t know anything for two more weeks,” McConnell-Serio said. “The doctors say that once she’s out of the immobilizer and starts doing rehab that it’s going to be pain tolerance (of) what she can do and how much she can push through.”
Karen Price is a former freelancer.