Duquesne women come up just short against No. 23 Syracuse
The Duquesne women attacked early but came up short against No. 23 Syracuse and 6-foot-4 center Briana Day in a 90-84 loss Wednesday at the Palumbo Center.
It was a better effort than Sunday’s opening loss to Princeton, and the Dukes were competitive and kept the game close against a ranked ACC opponent, but Duquesne coach Dan Burt found that of little consolation.
“I just lit into them somewhat because I don’t believe in moral victories, and I know that they don’t either, especially the upperclassmen,” Burt said. “But we need to understand that just because we’re close to Syracuse doesn’t mean we’re happy by any stretch because we’re not.”
Duquesne (0-2) spent most of the second half nipping at the heels of the Orange after leading the entire first half right up until the last shot before the buzzer when Diamond Henderson scored to give Syracuse (2-0) a 47-46 lead..
The Dukes opened the game going 4 of 6 from 3-point range against the 2-3 zone for which the Orange women — as well as the men — are known, but Syracuse began to push back midway through the first half.
Henderson finished with 22 points. Day totaled 22 points and 19 rebounds, 14 of them in the second half.
Burt said they were prepared to defend the Syracuse guards as best they could and take the chance on the post players beating them. Day, who averaged just five points and nine rebounds per game and made her first career start in Syracuse’s season opener, did exactly that.
Junior-college transfer Deva’Nyar Workman had 25 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for Duquesne before fouling out in her second Division I game, while point guard April Robinson and sophomore Amadea Szamosi each had 14 points.
Duquesne took the lead twice and tied it three times before Robinson scored her first points of the second half, hitting a 3-pointer to make it 69-69 with 8:30 to play. Alexis Peterson turned it over on Syracuse’s next possession, and Olivia Bresnahan grabbed a rebound and scored to give Duquesne a 71-69 lead.
With 3:40 remaining, Syracuse led, 78-75.
Workman threw the ball away coming out of the timeout, and Day grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to make it 80-75. Duquesne turned it over as the shot clock ticked down on its next possession, then sent Syracuse guard Alexis Peterson went to the free-throw line, where she added another point to the lead. The window closed on Duquesne’s chance to come back again.
“We knew they were going to press us the entire game and the traps were coming and we knew they play zone the entire game,” Bresnahan said. “We’d been preparing for that so we handled that fairly well. We just came up a little short. They made critical shots and we missed some at the end.”
The Dukes are now 5-25 all-time against ranked opponents.
“We made shots. We just came a few buckets short,” Burt said.