Three keys to the Duquesne women's basketball 2013-14 season

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1. SENIORS MUST STEP UP

In a year of transition from Suzie McConnell-Serio to first-year head coach Dan Burt, senior leadership will be imperative. It was the seniors who rallied the team this spring and delivered a vote of confidence for Burt as McConnell-Serio’s successor to the school administration, and now it’s on that four-member senior class to lift the Dukes to what they hope will be their first NCAA tournament appearance. Wumi Agunbiade and Orsi Szecsi — a.k.a. “The WO Show” — will be tasked with leading the senior charge.

2. BUY INTO CONDITIONING

Burt is no new face around the program, as he was a six-year assistant at Duquesne, but he has brought a new approach. The Dukes have doubled the intensity of practices and conditioning. Burt said he’s holding the seniors accountable for the mistakes and unpreparedness of younger players, instilling a stronger sense of ownership among teammates from the weight room to the court. When asked how things are different, senior Raegan Moore said, “We run.” Szecsi added in stride, “And run.”

3. PROTECT HOME COURT

Duquesne was 13-2 at Palumbo Center each of the past two seasons. That trend needs to continue if the Dukes are to reach the NCAA tournament. With recent renovations to the athletic campus and Palumbo Center, the Dukes have a home to be proud of and the fans should have a product to be proud of on the court. A strong home-court experience matters in college basketball, so the team should try to own the Bluff.

AT A GLANCE

• 2012-13: 24-8, 11-3 Atlantic 10.

• COACH: Dan Burt, first year.

• PROBABLE STARTERS: G — April Robinson, So., 5-8 (8.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.4 apg); G — Raegan Moore, Sr., 6-1 (1.7 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 0.5 apg); F — Orsi Szecsi, Sr., 6-3; (8.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.7 apg); F — Wumi Agunbiade, Sr., 6-2; (13.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.3 apg); C — Jose-Ann Johnson, Jr., 6-3 (1.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.2 apg)

• SCHEDULE (Home games in caps)

NOVEMBER — 8, Cal Poly, 6:30 p.m.; 14, Kent State, 7 p.m.; 17, GREEN BAY, 2 p.m.; 20, BUFFALO, 11 a.m.; 24, Morehead State, 2 p.m.; 26, Miami (Ohio), 7 p.m.

DECEMBER — 1, Notre Dame, 2 p.m.; 5, PROVIDENCE, 7 p.m.; 8, Saint Francis, 2 p.m.; 18, ROBERT MORRIS, 7 p.m.; 21, WEST VIRGINIA, 2 p.m.; 29, Pitt, 6 p.m.

JANUARY — 1, ST. BONAVENTURE, 7 p.m.; 4, VCU, 7 p.m.; 8, Fordham, 7 p.m.; 11, Saint Louis, 3 p.m.; 15, MASSACHUSETTS, 7 p.m.; 18, RHODE ISLAND, 2 p.m.; 22, at VCU, 7 p.m.; 29, George Mason, 7 p.m.

FEBRUARY — 1, Richmond, 7 p.m.; 5, GEORGE WASHINGTON, 7 p.m.; 8, DAYTON, 7 p.m.; 15, St. Bonaventure, 1 p.m.; 18, Saint Joseph’s, 9 p.m.; 22, FORDHAM, 7 p.m.; 26, LA SALLE, 7 p.m.

MARCH — 1, Rhode Island, 5 p.m.


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