Duquesne women ousted in A-10 quarterfinals

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PHILADELPHIA -- Fifth-seeded Duquesne's hopes for an Atlantic 10 Conference women's basketball title were short-circuited in a quarterfinal game Saturday by fourth-seeded Saint Joseph's, 73-60, at the Hawks' Hagan Arena.

But the Dukes' NCAA tournament situation may not have suffered greatly after 10th-seeded Temple edged second-seeded Charlotte several hours later.

"I'm not getting my hopes up," Duquesne coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said, disappointed at the way Duquesne (23-7) performed with a .348 shooting percentage from the field. "I don't want to set myself up for a letdown."

Duquesne has never been to the NCAA women's tournament but the Dukes have been projected into the field most of the season. Saint Joseph's (21-8), which beat Duquesne, 69-68, in overtime Feb. 13 at Palumbo Center, previously appeared in the NCAA tournament in 2000.

Though Charlotte finished higher in the A-10 standings and beat Duquesne, the Dukes have a much better profile in terms of Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) when it comes to picking at-large teams.

Temple, a year ago, finished second but the Owls were bypassed in the face of numerous projections that had them as a lock.

The Hawks, as well as Duquesne, are known for defense and they came up with critical stops. They also shot 60.9 percent in the second half were able to answer any threat the Dukes posed.

It didn't help McConnell-Serio to have her guards in foul trouble.

"At one instance I was going to have to go without a true point guard," she said.

Wumi Agunbiade scored 20 points for Duquesne, while Vanessa Abel had 13 points, and Orsi Szecsi scored 11.

But Saint Joseph's got a stellar effort from Erin Shields, voted the conference's most improved player, who scored a game-high 21 points and converted three of the Hawks' eight 3-pointers. The Dukes connected on just 2 of 8 attempts.

Shields' mother, Rene, is the school's senior women's administrator who is a former star at Saint Joseph's and a member of the Big Five Hall of Fame in Philadelphia.

In terms of other components hurting the Dukes, coach Cindy Griffin's squad got to the free-throw more often, making 21 for 28 while Duquesne was 12 for 17.

"Give all the credit to Saint Joe's," McConnell-Serio said. "They shot the ball when they needed to, made shots when the shot clock was winding down and made plays they needed to.

"They made timely 3s -- every time we had a defensive breakdown, they capitalized. Every time we made a run they had a answer. This time of year you need to be playing your best basketball and they did. We struggled early, which set the tone."

Griffin said it was a point of emphasis to take care of the ball in the face of going against Jocelyn Floyd, the NCAA leader in steals, who had four but Duquesne didn't take total advantage.

The worst-case scenario in the postseason for Duquesne would be another trip to the WNIT, but this time the Dukes want more. With their fate now out of their hands they must sit around until a week from Monday when the NCAA 64-team field and pairings are revealed on ESPN.

Other games

• Dayton 74, George Washington 49: Andrea Hoover scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds as No. 11 Dayton breezed to a victory against George Washington. The top-seeded Flyers (27-1), who were unbeaten in conference play this season, shot 60 percent (18 of 30) in the first half for a 43-21 lead against the Colonials (14-16), who defeated Richmond in the opening round. Hoover scored 11 points in the first half and Samantha MacKay had 10 of her 12 points for the Flyers, who beat George Washington, 80-52, in their only regular-season meeting. Dayton took control with a 12-0 run that gave the Flyers a 23-11 lead 10:25 before halftime.

• Temple 48, Charlotte 47: Rateska Brown scored 23 points off the bench in 31 minutes as Temple (14-17) stunned second-seeded Charlotte (24-5).

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Other wire dispatches contributed to this report.


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