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Butler's Bresnahan counting days until Duquesne debut

| Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Duquesne women's basketball player, Olivia Bresnahan, formerly of Butler High School drives during practice at the A.J. Palumbo Center, Uptown, Wednesday.
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.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Duquesne women's basketball player, Olivia Bresnahan, formerly of Butler High School defends the lane during practice at the A.J. Palumbo Center, Uptown, Wednesday.

For weeks, Olivia Bresnahan has been counting down the days until she will step on the court in a Duquesne uniform for a real basketball game.

The magic number is down to six.

After transferring from Florida State and sitting out a year, the Butler native will make her debut with the Dukes on Saturday against West Virginia in the Palumbo Center.

“It's been a challenge, a really big challenge, having to watch your team play but not being able to contribute in the way that you feel like you could,” said Bresnahan, who has two years of eligibility remaining. “But it's also been a really big learning experience. I've been able to sit on the sideline and see how the game is played from a different view, more like a coaching standpoint.”

In high school, the 5-foot-11 guard was ranked the No. 68 overall player and No. 19 shooting guard in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz. After a standout career at Butler, she began her college career at Florida State. In two seasons, she averaged 2.2 points and 2.0 rebounds and played 30 games her sophomore year, starting in four. She also had 24 steals, second-most on the team, and her 59 assists were third-most in 2011-12.

But Bresnahan said her love of the game was dwindling in Tallahassee.

“I needed a fresh start, and I figured coming back here to play, coming back home to where my family was and hopefully trying a new style and a new team would help me,” she said. “It did, and I'm back where I used to be.”

A home-cooked meal is now an hour's drive away instead of 17, and Bresnahan, who goes by Liv, loves being at an urban school that still manages to be tucked away in its own nook in the city. She's excited that her family, particularly her dad, will be able to watch her play more often.

“With the way he works it was hard for him to get down to Florida,” she said. “He's the person who got me started in basketball and my number one fan.”

On the court, teammates Orsi Szecsi and Wumi Agunbiade remarked on Bresnahan's energy and how they expect that to help, especially in a close game.

Head coach Dan Burt said Bresnahan is someone who is very effective at getting into the lane, attacking the basket and creating opportunities.

“Liv is a very good basketball player who's worked exceptionally hard to improve her perimeter skill in terms of shooting the ball from the arc,” Burt said. “She's also very smart with the ball and has a high basketball IQ.”

Breshanan echoed Burt's assessment of the work she's put into her pull-up game and outside and mid-range shots during her requisite layoff from game action.

“I was always hesitant to take the shot when I was open, so I've gotten more into a scoring mindset,” she said. “Now I'm ready to see how it turns out on the court. That's what I'm excited about. I hope I don't let myself down.”

Burt doesn't believe that will happen.

“She makes us a lot better when she becomes eligible,” he said.

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

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