La Salle spoils Duquesne seniors' finale
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Wumi Agunbiade and Orsi Szecsi remember being freshmen and talking about what their college careers would be like at Duquesne.
They talked about winning an Atlantic 10 championship. They dubbed themselves the “WoShow” and dreamed of the impact they would have as the Dukes worked to build themselves into contenders in the conference and beyond.
On Wednesday, Agunbiade, Szecsi and fellow seniors Raegan Moore and Oditte Odisho played their last regular-season home game at Duquesne, but a late-game comeback by La Salle propelled the Explorers to a 68-63 victory.
La Salle entered the game on a three-game losing streak and had not beaten Duquesne since 2007.
Duquesne (17-11, 9-6 A-10) led at halftime 29-27 and held an 11-point lead with about 12:30 remaining. With five minutes to go, the Dukes led 58-51. But the Dukes were unraveling.
“We just didn't make any plays,” Agunbiade said. “We didn't make the stops we were supposed to make. It was simple things. Keeping people out of lanes, we weren't able to do that. It just came down to making plays, and that's what we weren't able to do.”
The Explorers closed to within 58-55, and Moore missed a 3-pointer. La Salle's Leeza Burdgess — a former Pitt center — hit a layup, Agunbiade turned the ball over, and Burdgess delivered again to give the Explorers a 59-58 lead with just over two minutes remaining.
Moore hit a 3-pointer — Duquesne's only one of the game — with 30 seconds left and cut La Salle's lead to 63-61, but La Salle went 5 for 5 from the free-throw line to seal the victory.
“Until we're able to play with a lead, defend dribble penetration and occasionally make a shot, this is what's going to happen,” first-year Dukes coach Dan Burt said.
Four players finished in double figures for La Salle (13-14, 8-7 A-10), which is coached by former Pitt assistant Jeff Williams. Included among his assistants are former Pitt players Shayla Scott and Kate Popovec.
Agunbiade tallied 23 points and 11 rebounds — her 25th career double-double. Moore finished with 15 points and three assists, and Szecsi had four points and seven rebounds.
Agunbiade will leave Duquesne as the second-leading scorer in program history. Her 1,713 points trail only Korie Helde, who totaled 2,631 points from 1995-98.
Szecsi, who became the first Duquesne player to record a triple-double in almost 19 years on Nov. 24, 2013, is 18th on the scoring list with 1,112 points.
Odisho transferred from Panola Community College in Carthage, Texas, and Moore, who is the Dukes' second-leading scorer this season with 15 points per game, transferred from Valparaiso.
With a win over Fordham on Saturday, the senior class became the second-winningest in program history with 85, trailing only last year's class (88).
That was Duquesne's only win in the past six games.
“They helped us achieve a program where 17-11 is not acceptable,” Burt said of his seniors. “Those four are the reason why this is not acceptable.”
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.
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