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Duquesne women push past Robert Morris

Doug Gulasy
| Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, 5:30 p.m.

Duquesne women's basketball coach Dan Burt wanted to see his team get back to dictating the tempo in its nonconference game Sunday afternoon at Robert Morris.

By turning up the pressure, the Dukes did just that.

Duquesne's defense forced Robert Morris into 22 turnovers and held the Colonials without a field goal for the final nine minutes of the game, allowing the Dukes (6-4) to come away with a 71-57 victory at Sewall Center.

“We got a lot of deflections, or they were throwing a lot of bad passes,” said Duquesne point guard April Robinson, who scored a team-high 18 points and had three steals. “We tried trapping them over half court, which I thought was effective. That's when we started to get some more momentum to continue scoring.”

The Dukes' trapping style allowed them to come away with 15 steals, including five each from Olivia Bresnahan and Deva'Nyar Workman. The defense keyed runs of 14-0, 8-0 and 12-1 that gave Duquesne breathing room each time Robert Morris (2-6) made it close.

“(Pressure is) always part of our game plan,” Burt said. “We tend to press probably 65 to 70 percent of the game. We like to run the 2-2-1 press, and we were very successful getting half-court traps right at the half-court line or just over the halfcourt line.”

Workman finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds to go with five steals. Jose-Ann Johnson added 17 points and seven rebounds for the Dukes, who outrebounded Robert Morris, 44-35.

Robert Morris, which lost its fourth consecutive game, started three sophomores and a freshman. Regular starters Megan Smith and Jolie Olingende returned from injury but played limited minutes off the bench.

The Colonials got a boost from sophomore center Judith Sole, who scored a game-high 23 points and pulled down 17 rebounds in her first career start. It marked her second consecutive double-double.

“Every time you do good, you get more confidence,” Sole said. “Especially me — I don't have enough confidence in myself, so a game like this helps you a lot.”

After Robert Morris took an early 6-0 lead on 3-pointers by Ashley Ravelli and Anna Niki Stamolamprou, Duquesne responded with a 14-0 run keyed by four Robert Morris turnovers.

Duquesne widened its lead to 24-10 with just under 11 minutes remaining in the first half, but Robert Morris rallied, cutting its deficit to 35-34 at halftime.

Robert Morris turned over the ball on its first four possessions of the second half, leading to an 8-0 Duquesne run. The Colonials rallied again, cutting their deficit to 59-56 on two Sole free throws with 8:04 remaining, but Duquesne clamped down again to claim the victory.

“You can't just keep letting teams go on those big runs and constantly fight back,” Robert Morris coach Sal Buscaglia said. “I think we have to learn to play under adversity. When we are down, we have to learn to be able to respond to that, come back, go over the edge and take the lead.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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