Bowling Green reserve stuns Duquesne women in NIT

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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -- The Duquesne women's basketball team saw its season end with a 61-54 loss Saturday to Bowling Green in the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament.

And the Dukes were done in by Bowling Green's Jill Stein, a reserve who scored 13 consecutive points midway through the second half.

Among Stein's career-high 16 points were two baskets at the end of the shot clock, including a desperation 3-pointer from 25 feet out.

"She hit two shots with the shot-clock running down -- and they both were contested," Duquesne coach Susie McConnell-Serio said of Stein. "Those were back-breakers.

"We talk that, this time of year, it's about players besides your marquee players stepping up. And she certainly did that coming off the bench."

Vanessa Abel scored 14 points to lead the Dukes (24-8), Wumi Agunbiade had 12 and Orsi Szecsi added 11 before fouling out.

Jillian Halfhill added 14 for Bowling Green (24-10).

The Dukes controlled the first half, leading nearly the entire way and taking a 29-25 advantage despite making just 38.7 percent of their field goals.

But Duquense's offense bogged down even more in the second half as the Dukes shot just 32.3 percent from the floor and missed on all but one 3-pointer after making four in the first half.

"We struggled to score the basketball," McConnell-Serio said. "We just couldn't hit shots in the second half.

"They were keying on Wumi Agunbiade -- sending a double-team after her. We made some adjustments, but we didn't hit open shots. We didn't shoot well from 3. We didn't make plays."

Stein's 3-pointer at 10:59 of the second half -- a desperation heave just before the shot-clock sounded -- started a 15-8 run for the Falcons that included 13 points from Stein. It gave Bowling Green a 49-45 lead with 4:05 left, and from that point the Falcons made 10 of 13 free throws.

"The biggest difference was at the free-throw line: They made 22 free throws and we only made five," McConnell-Serio said. "That's the frustrating part.

"I know it's tough when you go on the road, but it's tough [to win] when there's that big of a discrepancy."

It also hurt that the Dukes struggled to force turnovers. Duquesne came into the game forcing more than 23 turnovers a game; Bowling Green had turned the ball over 60 times in its past two contests.

But the Falcons had just 17 turnovers in their win.

"I was really proud that we were able to reduce our turnovers," Bowling Green coach Jennifer Roos said. "And I was proud that we reduced the points we gave up [because of turnovers to 18].

"I thought we had only two turnovers that led to a fastbreak for them. I thought we did a good job of taking care of the ball."

As a result Duquesne ended its season tied with the 2010-11 squad for the most wins in school history. Seniors Abel, Jocelyn Floyd and Ahjah Hall finished with 88 victories, most for any class in the program's history.

"I'm sad for the seniors, because they've meant so much for this program," McConnell-Serio said. "They've been tremendous leaders, and I couldn't be more proud of them."

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The Block News Alliance consists of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Blade of Toledo, Ohio. John Wagner is a report for The Blade.


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