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Duquesne women shoot for City bragging rights vs. Pitt

| Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Last season, the Duquesne women's basketball team owned the regional matchup circuit, sweeping West Virginia, Pitt, Robert Morris and St. Francis (Pa.) for the first time since Suzie McConnell-Serio took over as coach in 2007.

This season, they're halfway there with wins over Robert Morris and St. Francis in the last week and will look to make it three out of four against Pitt on Saturday. The Dukes play West Virginia on Dec. 20.

Duquesne has won the last three games against the Panthers, beginning with a victory over then-No. 20 Pitt in 2009 that ended a four-game City Game losing streak. They've won the last five against St. Francis, three against Robert Morris and last year beat West Virginia for the first time in McConnell-Serio's tenure.

After Sunday's win over Robert Morris, McConnell-Serio said she still talks to her team about the importance of the regional rivalries.

“This is about city pride,” she said. “We're the only one who plays each and every team. They don't all play each other, so that's obviously something we take pride in.”

This is the first year Pitt and West Virginia won't play each other. WVU is now in the Big 12, and Pitt coach Agnus Berenato said on Thursday that with a full schedule and their own move to the ACC next year, there is no chance of the matchup resuming any time soon. The same goes for Robert Morris, a series that ended several years ago.

Pitt leads the all-time series against Duquesne, 19-11. Berenato's sister, Bernadette McGlade, is commissioner of the Atlantic 10, so for her the Pitt-Duquesne rivalry has both family and city bragging rights.

“The first thing I'll do is call her up and say ‘Well, the Pitt men beat Duquesne, so we got you,' ” she said. “I have a lot of respect for Duquesne and the job that they have done, but at the same time, I have a lot of respect for our program and what we've done.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7980 or kprice@tribweb.com.

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