Duquesne came up empty in its two opportunities to make noise at the top of the Atlantic 10 standings, but woeful Massachusetts was supposed to provide a confidence boost after back-to-back letdowns.
The Dukes, though, were challenged throughout the second half until finally pulling away for a tougher-than-expected 53-44 win against the Minutewomen at William D. Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass.
Jocelyn Floyd posted a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds, and Oditte Odisho added 13 points off the bench to snap a two-game losing streak for Duquesne.
Early on, it looked as if the Dukes (20-6, 9-3) were in danger of a third loss in a row -- this time to lowly Massachusetts (3-24, 1-11) rather than league-leading Dayton and third-place Saint Joseph's. But after trailing, 17-16, with 10:09 left in the first half, Floyd and Odisho combined for 12 points of a 17-4 run to take a 33-21 lead at halftime.
The Minutewomen did not go away, cutting the deficit to three midway through the second half, but that was the closest they would get.