PREVIEW: Women’s Basketball at UCF & Tulsa – Duquesne University – Official Athletic Site - Techy Hunters

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Monday, November 8, 2021

PREVIEW: Women’s Basketball at UCF & Tulsa – Duquesne University – Official Athletic Site

GAME 1 | DUQUESNE (0-0) at UCF (0-0)
Tues. Nov. 9, 2021 • 6:00 p.m. ET
Addition Financial Arena (10,000) – Orlando, Fla.
TV: ESPN+

GAME 2 | DUQUESNE (0-0) at TULSA (0-0)
Thurs. Nov. 11, 2021 • 7:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. CT)
Reynolds Center (8,355) – Tulsa, Okla.
TV: ESPN+

The 49th season of Duquesne women’s basketball will begin with a pair of road contests against American Athletic Conference foes.

The Dukes will open the season at UCF on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. in Orlando, Florida, before heading west on Thursday to take on Tulsa at 7:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. CT).

HOW TO FOLLOW
• Both games will be streamed live on ESPN+.
• Live stats are available courtesy of both UCF and Tulsa
• Follow @DuqWBB on Twitter and Instagram for in-game updates.

THE SERIES – vs. UCF
• This will be the second all-time meeting between the Dukes and Knights.
• Duquesne and UCF met for the first time in 2018 at the former A.J. Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh.
• The Knights pulled out a 71-63 win over the Dukes in that first-ever meeting.
• Former Duke Julijana Vojinovic scored 18 points, while Libby Bazelak added 12 in the loss.
• The Knights were led by Kay Kay Wright with 21 and Nyala Shuler who had a double-double of 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

THE SERIES – vs. TULSA
• This will be the third all-time meeting between the Dukes and Golden Hurricanes and the first since 2000.
• Duquesne won both of the previous meetings against Tulsa, including a 63-50 victory on Dec. 30, 2000 in Oklahoma.
• The Dukes were victorious in the first-ever game between the two schools – a 68-54 win at the former A.J Palumbo Center.

LOOKING BACK
• After dropping seven in a row at one point last season, the Dukes capped the 2020-21 regular-season with three victories in five games.
Precious Johnson ranked second in the A-10 in field goal percentage, shooting 53.0 percent from the floor (44-of-83) on the season.
• In the Dukes’ last five regular-season games, Megan McConnell dished out 12 assists compared to just three turnovers. At 5-7, she also pulled down 20 rebounds during that span.
Tess Myers ranked fifth in the A-10 in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on 39.7 pct. of attempts from long range (25-of-63).

SCOUTING UCF
• UCF returns its entire starting lineup from the 2020-21 season and is coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.
• The Knights posted a 16-5 overall record, with a 12-2 mark in league play to finish as the American Athletic Conference runner-up a year ago.
• The Knights were picked to finish second in the AAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
• Tay Sanders was named Preseason All-Conference First Team.
• Sanders more than doubled her scoring average in her second season at UCF. She was the team’s leading scorer at 10.4 points per game and scored in double figures in 11 of the Knights’ 21 games.
• In addition to Sanders, UCF returns a two-time all-conference selection in Brittney Smith, all-tournament performers Diamond Battles and Masseny Kaba and The AAC Newcomer and Co-Sixth Player of the Year Alisha Lewis.

SCOUTING TULSA
• The Golden Tornadoes were picked to finish ninth in the American preseason poll.
• Tulsa went 5-14 in the abbreviated 2020-21 season and closed the year on an eight-game losing skid.
• The Golden Tornadoes return four starters from the 2020-21 season, including sisters Maya and Wyvette Mayberry.
• The sisters averaged 14.3 and 12.3 points per game and picked up third-team all-conference and all-freshman team accolades, respectively, a year ago.
• Maya Mayberry started in all 19 games and scored in double figures 17 times. She led the team with 14.3 ppg. She was named an AAC Preseason Second Team All-Conference selection.

DUKES IN SEASON OPENERS
• Duquesne is 24-24 in season opening games, including a 2-6 mark under Head Coach Dan Burt.
• The Dukes have lost each of the past five season openers.
• Duquesne is 18-30 overall in road openers. The last time the Dukes went on the road and won to open a season was on Nov. 13, 2015, when DUQ defeated Saint Peter’s 63-38.

DUQUESNE VERSUS THE AMERICAN
• The Dukes are 1-4 overall against teams from the AAC, including a 97-51 loss on March 21, 2016 to eventual-National Champion UConn in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
• Duquesne’s only win against an AAC foe was a 54-53 victory over Temple on Jan. 2, 2018.

DUQUESNE CONNECTION AT UCF
• UCF Head Coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson began her coaching career on The Bluff in 1990 as an assistant under former head coach Renee Devarney.
• The Dukes went 15-43 in her two seasons in Pittsburgh, which included a surprise run in the 1992 Atlantic 10 Tournament.
• Duquesne knocked off UMass in an opening round game, before scoring a 63-62 upset-win over then No. 11 West Virginia in the quarterfinal round. The Dukes run came to an end with an 87-64 loss to George Washington in the A-10 Semifinals.

STORY LINES
• This will be Duquesne’s first full season at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse. The Dukes scored a 71-63 victory on Feb. 18 over Rhode Island in the team’s lone game at the newly-renovated facility last season. Duquesne was forced to play off campus the past three seasons and responded by going a combined 13-9 in “home games” at La Roche University, PPG Paints Arena, UPMC Events Center and Oakland Catholic High School.
• Since taking over as head coach in 2013-14, Dan Burt has led the Dukes to 158 wins. Only Dayton (166) and Fordham (164) have amassed more wins during that span in the Atlantic 10. The Dukes are also one of three A-10 programs to post a winning season in six of  the past seven seasons (Dayton, Fordham, & VCU).
• Since 2013-14, the Dukes have led the Atlantic 10 in scoring offense (2x), scoring margin, field goal percentage (2x), free throw percentage and assists per game (2x). Duquesne has ranked at least fourth in the conference in points per game, field goal percentage and assists per game in all but one season since 2014-15.
• The Dukes have earned wins against a Power-5 conference school in five of the past six seasons. Duquesne has defeated Pitt (5x), Penn State, and Virginia in that span.
• Head Coach Dan Burt‘s time on The Bluff has brought unmatched success. The Dukes have earned 10 postseason appearances and 10 20-win seasons in 14 seasons in the Steel City. Prior to joining the coaching staff in 2007-08, the Dukes had never earned a trip to the postseason or eclipsed 20 wins in a single season. In 2015-16, Duquesne earned its first bid to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 9 seed and earned dominant 21-point win over No. 8 Seton Hall.
• Duquesne’s top-eight scorers all return in 2021-22. The Dukes scored 999 points last season and 845 of those points were scored by players returning to the fold this season.

• LAIA SOLÉ: Appeared in all 16 games with 12 starts … Ranked third on the team with 8.1 points per game … Tied for the team lead with 5.7 rebounds per game … Led team in total offensive (26) and defensive (65) rebounds … Slotted fourth on the team with 1.4 assists per game … Registered a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds at Ohio State … Registered a season-high with 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting at Kent State … Finished with 17 points and eight rebounds against Richmond … Established a new career-high with 13 rebounds at George Mason … Ranked second on the Dukes with 11.8 points per game in 2019-20 … Recorded 38 of Duquesne’s 72 points in a overtime win over Saint Francis, the most points for a Duke in the Dan Burt era.

• PRECIOUS JOHNSON: Appeared in 14 games with 13 starts … Slotted fourth on the team with 7.6 points per game … Ranked second in the A10 with a 53.0 field-goal percentage … Tied for the team lead and ranked 21st in the A10 with 5.7 rebounds per game … Ranked fourth in the A10with 1.5 blocked shots per game … Finished just shy of a double-double with nine points, 10 rebounds and a season-high five blocks versus St. Bonaventure … Established a season-high with 20 points to go with nine rebounds versus Rhode Island … Registered a double-double with 15 points and season highs of 11 rebounds and five steals in an A10 Championship game versus La Salle.

• MEGAN McCONNELL: Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Week (12/14/20) … Appeared in all 16 games with nine starts … Led the team and ranked 17th in the A-10 with 2.8 assists per game … Led the team and ranked 12th in the A-10 with 1.4 steals per game … Played a team-high 28.7 minutes per game … Dished out a season-high six assists versus St. Bonaventure … Finished with nine points, and season highs of six rebounds and three blocks while making her first start against VCU … Established a season-high with 16 points to go with six rebounds and six assists versus Richmond … Scored 15 points and matched a season-best six rebounds against La Salle … Registered a season-high four steals at GW.

PROS ACROSS THE SEA: The following Duquesne graduates are playing professionally overseas.
• Nina Aho ’20 (Aluinvent DVTK Miskolc / Hungary-A Division)
• Paige Cannon ’20 (CAB Madeira / Portugal-Liga Feminina)
• Jose-Ann Johnson ’15 (SIG Strasbourg / France-LF2)
• Eniko Kuttor ’19 (Cegledi EKK / Hungary A-Division)
• Kadri-Ann Lass ’19 (Embutidos Pajariel Bembibre /Spain-Liga Feminina)

FAMILY TIES
Libby Bazelak: Brother, Connor is the starting quarterback at Mizzou. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2020 … Sister, Maddy, played volleyball and graduated from Duquesne in 2019. In 2019-20 she played basketball at Ohio University as a graduate transfer.

Amaya Hamilton: Father, Brian, played defensive tackle and was a captain at Notre Dame (1994) under legendary coach Lou Holtz. He signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons after graduation.

Precious Johnson: Father, Stew, is the ninth all-time leading scorer in the history of the ABA. He played for seven different franchises (Kentucky Colonels, New Jersey Americans/New York Nets, Houston Mavericks, Pittsburgh Pipers/Condors, Carolina Cougars, San Diego Conquistadors, Memphis Sound, Baltimore Claws, San Diego Sails and San Antonio Spurs). He was a 3x all-star in the ABA. The Clairton, Pa. native went on to play professionally in Iceland and Sweden, where Precious was born and raised.

Megan McConnell: “Pittsburgh’s First Family of Hoops” Brother, TJ, a Duquesne (2010-12) and Arizona (2013-15) basketball standout is currently a member of the Indiana Pacers. He previously played for the Philadelphia 76ers … Brother, Matty, was an 1,000-pt. scorer at Robert Morris … Father, Tim, is one of the most successful basketball coaches in Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) history with eight combined WPIAL championships at Chartiers Valley High School as the boys (1992-2018) and girls (2018-present) coach … Aunt, Suzie McConnell-Serio was an All-American at Penn State, Olympic Gold Medalist, and WNBA standout as a women’s basketball Hall of Famer. She posted an 123-68 record as the Duquesne’s women’s basketball head coach, before taking the head job at Pitt (2013-18). Before coming to Duquesne, she was the head coach of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx … Aunt, Kathy McConnell-Miller, went to four NCAA tournaments at Virginia and has been a Division I head coach at Tulsa and Colorado and an assistant coach at Pitt, Rutgers, and Illinois … Uncle, Tom, is the head coach at Division II contender Indiana University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team. He previously served as the head coach of Saint Francis (Pa.) men’s team and was an assistant coach for the men’s teams at Wake Forest, Marquette, Dayton. He served as an assistant coach for Colorado and Old Dominion’s women’s teams.

Tess Myers: Father, Joey, graduated from Duquesne and played basketball on two NIT Teams in 1980 and 1981, totaling 831 points. He was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in 1983 … Sister, Natalie, was a Class 2A All-State selection at Burrell High School and led IUP in rebounding and ranked third in scoring as a senior on a team that ranked 8th in the nation in DII prior to the COVID-19 pandemic … Sister, Taylor, was an 1,000 pt. scorer at Burrell High School.

Aniya Walker: Father, Myron, is Robert Morris’ all-time leading scorer (1,965 pts, 1990-94). He is a member of the Northeastern Conference Hall of Fame, RMU’s Hall of Fame and Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame … Cousin, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, played at Maryland and was the sixth overall pick in the 2017 WNBA draft. She earned a spot on the WNBA All-Rookie Team in 2017 and won the WNBA Championship with the Washington Mystic in 2019. She currently plays for the Phoenix Mercury.

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