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Duquesne women hit key stretch

| Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, 11:42 p.m.

The Duquesne women's basketball team beat Rhode Island by 15 points last weekend, but that win alone wasn't enough to make first-year coach Dan Burt pleased with the Dukes' overall performance.

Duquesne led by as many as 12 points in the first half only to settle for a two-point halftime lead. For roughly 10 minutes, the Dukes let Rhode Island dictate the pace of the game and did little to regain control.

It all worked out in the end with a 62-47 victory, their fourth in a row, but Burt knows that type of play won't help his team as they move into the second half of the Atlantic 10 season.

“For us to make that jump from being a good program to a very good or great program, we've got to play better for longer stretches of time and not have lulls like that,” Burt said. “It's upsetting to me and it's something I have to correct because we can't go 10 minutes against St. Joseph's or VCU or someone like that.”

Duquesne (14-6, 6-1 A-10) responded with what Burt called a well-rounded performance in a win at VCU on Tuesday, avenging an earlier loss at Palumbo Center. All five starters finished in double figures in scoring and the Dukes outrebounded VCU, 46-39, while reaching a season high in boards.

With a week between VCU game and upcoming trips to George Mason (Wednesday) and Richmond (Feb. 1), Burt hopes to take advantage of the opportunities for physical and mental rest and team bonding before returning home to host George Washington and Dayton.

“I think there's something to be said for being on the road together, sharing meals and having a lot of focus on basketball for what is going to be an important streak,” Burt said. “If you run the table all of a sudden you're 9-1 in the league and then you get Dayton and that's always a big rival for us.”

Heading into the weekend Dayton was undefeated in the conference at 5-0 (12-4 overall). Duquesne was second in the standings, followed by Fordham, Saint Joseph's, St. Bonaventure, George Washington and La Salle, all at 4-2.

“It's definitely going to be our toughest three or four weeks,” senior Orsi Szecsi said. “We definitely have to win all these games coming up.”

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

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