Workman notches double-double with 24 and 11 off the bench
In an exciting game in the AJ Palumbo Center, the Syracuse women knocked off the Dukes 90-84. Briana Day from Syracuse was the difference, notching 22 points and a hard fought 19 boards. Day responded when the Cuse needed her the most. After a layup by Deva'Nyar Workman cut the Syracuse lead to 76-75 with around 4 minutes to play, it was all Briana Day. The next possession, Day got the layup to extend the Syracuse lead to 78-75. She then followed it up by grabbing two offensive boards on the before putting it in, putting the Cuse up 5. On the Dukes next possession, Day blocked a shot by Workman, and then grabbed yet another offensive board on the Orange offensive possession that eventually wound up with an and-one that was the final dagger in the coffin for the Dukes. The Dukes did rally to cut the lead to 88-84, and the battling Dukes had a couple of chances to cut it to two with eleven seconds left. However, April Robinson and Belma Nurkic both missed six footers and Syracuse hit their freebies to make it a six point victory for Syracuse over a gritty Duquesne team in the Palumbo Center.
As for the Dukes, despite the loss this was a very encouraging performance against a top 25 team. The general feeling going into the game was that the Dukes may be competitive for a half before Syracuse would pull away and make it look not that close. Yet, the Dukes hung in well. Deva'Nyar Workman was a spark offensively off the bench, scoring 24 and fighting hard for 11 boards. Her name suits her well. However, she still has some growing to do, as she committed two needless fouls late, one for an over the back and another off the ball within twelve seconds. Eventually teams will quit guarding her as much around the perimeter as Workman is not a shooter, but until then she has the potential to put up some big numbers. She's a high motor player who fights for everything and is a very good get for Burt. She also can handle the ball as the backup PG. April Robinson had a solid game and may be the second best point in the A-10 right now, and the A-10 has a couple of good ones. Jose Ann Johnson played the best I've seen her play in a Dukes uniform, as she looked inspired tonight. Amadea Szamosi played another efficient game, though her fourth foul a little over eight minutes left took some of the steam out of her play. She was perhaps a bit too tentative coming back off the bench late with four fouls also. Liv Bresnahan was her normal self. It was nice seeing Emilie Gronas hit a few threes off the bench...the Dukes will certainly need her shooting going forward. She's not the best athlete, but she's more of one than some people give her credit for. Nurkic got off to a hot start to the game to get the team going. Pretty much everyone contributed in making it a close, exciting performance against a top 25 team. It's certainly one that the Dukes can be proud of even in the loss. There's nothing wrong with playing well and going down swinging against a top 25 team. It was a much, much better performance than the one put on against Princeton and is very encouraging.
The next game is at Green Bay on Saturday. Green Bay is an excellent team, and their women have more of a stranglehold on the Horizon than Butler men even did. It will be yet another good early test for the Dukes.
While there were plenty of flaws in the Dukes egg against Shippensburg, I feel finishing played the largest role in their misery. Of course, I'd argue that it might not mean much in the long run. It feels to me like a culmination of awful in the shooting department that I feel like the Dukes will be hard pressed to repeat.