Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass loses 10 straight, falls to Duquesne 79-62

Second quarter blues the struggle for Minutewomen
Matt Skillings
Daily Collegian (2024)

A strong second quarter for the Duquesne Dukes made all the difference against the Massachusetts women’s basketball team. The Dukes (14-9, 9-3 Atlantic 10) fast paced gameplay and ability to score consistently powered them to a win over the Minutewomen (3-21, 1-11 A-10) 79-62 on Wednesday night, handing UMass its 10th loss in a row.

“I thought we were going to be up for the challenge and we were [ready] early,” head coach Mike Leflar said. “… I think that second quarter lack of scoring got us down and we were never able to recover from that mentally or emotionally.”

Tied 21-21 going into the second quarter, the Dukes found their sweet spot. A pair of free throws from Ayanna Townsend were followed with a jumper. This run continued with a layup from Precious Johnson, putting Duquesne up a comfortable eight. The Dukes didn’t hold back, ending the quarter with another five points powered by Naelle Bernard and Gabby Grantham-Medley, making the score 39-28 going into halftime.

Duquesne held the Minutewomen to a mere seven points in the second. The Minutewomen shot 3-for-15 and tossed in a singular free throw. The Dukes had two blocks, four steals and 10 points off UMass turnovers in the second quarter.

“We missed some shots, and the turnovers mounted,” Leflar said. “We have to be able to move on quickly from mistakes.”

A 11-point lead quickly turned into 19, with the Dukes outscoring the Minutwomen 23-15 in the third. Duquesne’s offense came out for the second half with victory in mind, shooting 72.7 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from the 3-point line, going into the final 10 minutes of gameplay up 62-43.

“There were times tonight where we looked a little defeated because of the score,” Leflar said. “… if we’re not scoring, 11 points looks insurmountable, and I get it, but just focusing on that is how you get down 20.”

Although a game of disappointment for the Minutewomen, the moral victory comes from a strong first quarter of competitive gameplay. Coming off a narrow loss to A-10 leaders Saint Joeseph’s, the Minutewomen showed they can compete with the top of the conference, matching the Dukes with 21 points after a fast back and forth first quarter.

Alexsia Rose led the Minutewomen with a career high 23 points, while Stefanie Kulesza tossed in 10 and grabbed a team high six rebounds. Freshman Lilly Taulelei had seven and Chinenye Odenigbo had six in the loss.

“I’m trying to find anything I can do for my team to come out on top,” Rose said. “…I’m trying to do whatever is needed from me whether that is scoring, defending, rebounding or sharing the ball.”

Bernard led the dukes with 15 points and six rebounds. Following close behind with 14 points and nine rebounds was Megan McConnell. 11 of the 12 Duquesne players that touched the floor scored on Wednesday night.

UMass had 15 turnovers to Duquesne’s 19 but found itself committing 16 personal fouls with Kulesza fouling out with minutes to go in the fourth, with Leflar saying that the “margin of error is really slim.”

“We have a game that we need to turn our attention to on Saturday,” Leflar said. “And we need to make the next two days about us and preparing.”

The Minutewomen hit the road and travel to New York where they face Fordham on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. The game will be streamed on SNY.

Lucy Postera can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @lucypostera.

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