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Bresnahan showed no rust in Duquesne women's basketball debut

| Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, 6:06 p.m.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Duquesne women's basketball player, Olivia Bresnahan, formerly of Butler High School, shoots during practice at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
Duquesne women's basketball player, Olivia Bresnahan, formerly of Butler High School, takes a shot during a game Dec. 21, 2013, against West Virginia at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
Duquesne women's basketball player, Olivia Bresnahan, formerly of Butler High School, takes a shot during a game Dec. 21, 2013, against West Virginia at the A.J. Palumbo Center.

The ending has not been what junior Olivia Bresnahan and her teammates hoped it would be for her Duquesne women's basketball debut, but the Butler native said it was great to be back on the court.

Bresnahan, who sat out the 2012-13 season after transferring from Florida State, came off the bench and scored 19 points, second-most on the team, in an 88-80 loss to West Virginia in A.J. Palumbo Center on Dec. 21. The Dukes trailed by as many as 26 points after the Mountaineers went on a run to start the second half but fought back to close the gap.

“We were in such a big deficit but coming back little by little, you have to just keep your spirits up and keep motivating each other,” Bresnahan said after playing her first game since March 1, 2012. “Looking at the scoreboard and that big number we were down by, sometimes you can just lower your head and just say I can't wait for this game to be over, or you can fight back.

“I think we really fought back and were close to getting it. If we could have just sparked a little sooner, we would have come close.”

The 19 points for Bresnahan represented a career high. Her previous best was 10 points, accomplished Dec. 4, 2011, against Charlotte.

Bresnahan played a team-leading 38 minutes and was 4 of 11 from the field, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range, and 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. She grabbed two rebounds and had five assists, three turnovers, one block and two steals.

Her two 3-pointers occurred in the final minute as the Dukes made one last desperate push to close the gap on the Mountaineers.

“Liv's been in the gym all summer long and that was probably the biggest knock on her coming out of high school was being able to be an outside shooter,” coach Dan Burt said. “She's worked exceptionally hard especially this summer to become a viable perimeter threat, and we saw that going 2 for 4 from the 3-point line. That should serve as notice for the teams that we play in the future that she can knock down shots.”

The next test for Duquesne (8-4) and Bresnahan will take place Sunday when the Dukes play Pitt in the annual women's city game.

With Bresnahan, sophomore point guard April Robinson, senior guard Raegan Moore and junior guard Belma Nurkic, Burt believes Duquesne has as strong a backcourt as anybody.

Robinson said one of the keys to Duquesne's comeback attempt was having Bresnahan bring the ball up court with speed while Robinson, Moore and Nurkic spotted up at the 3-point line.

“It was good (to have Bresnahan in the game),” Robinson said. “We already know what she brings to the table, so having her in uniform, I'm just happy for her. It had been two years, basically, since she played so seeing her in a Duquesne uniform and playing well is exciting.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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