Dukes Top Rhode Island, 69-62
Feb. 6, 2003
Kingston, Rhode Island - The Duquesne Dukes (12-8, 5-4) were able to change their fortunes after a cold-shooting first half as they topped Rhode Island (11-10, 3-7) Thursday night at the Rams' Ryan Center. Double-doubles from seniors Beth Friday (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Upper St. Clair) and Khalihah Este-Shehu (Toronto, Ontario / Eastern Commerce) enabled the Red and Blue to record their second straight win and raise their conference record above the .500 mark for the first time this season. Solid foul shooting in the closing minutes sealed the win for the Dukes.
What started out as an off-night shooting for Duquesne enabled URI to take a 28-22 lead into the break. Junior Candace Futrell (Altoona, Pa./Altoona), who was 0-7 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, spurred Duquesne to 47 points in the second half and the 69-62 win.
Futrell and Este-Shehu each had 15 points to pace the Dukes in scoring with Friday chipping in 10 points. Este-Shehu, who missed the first part of the season due to an ankle injury, led DU with 11 rebounds with Friday pulling down 10. Futrell had four assists to lead Duquesne in that department.
Rhode Island jumped out to an early lead and held an 8-3 advantage after a free throw from junior Lyndita Liburd at the 12:45 mark. The Dukes then used a 6-0 run and took their first lead of the game, 9-8, after a jumper from freshman Aiga Bautre with 10:17 left in the first half. The two teams traded leads back-and-forth with the Rams holding a 22-21 lead with 3:23 left in the half. URI closed out the stanza on a 6-1 run, taking a 28-22 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Rams shot 46.2% from the field in the first half while the Dukes shot just 34.6%
Duquesne responded early in the second half, using a 9-3 run, capped by a jumper from Futrell to tie the game at 31-31 with 16:59 left. The two teams battled evenly for the next several minutes with Duquesne holding a 47-46 lead with 9:37 left in the game. The Dukes then used a 14-5 run over a five-minute stretch to take a 60-51 lead, their largest of the game, on a layup from Futrell with 3:37 left. URI was eventually forced to foul to slow the game as they tried to get back into the contest. The Dukes hit 15 of 22 charity attempts in the final six minutes. Duquesne shot 61.9% from the field for the second half and held the Rams to just 28.6% from the floor. The win also evened DU's road record to 5-5 on the season.
Junior Denise King led the way for the Rams with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists and fellow junior Shayla Johnson added 17 points.
With her 10th point tonight, Friday, who is featured in this week's Sports Illustrated, moved into fourth place all-time among Duquesne scorers. The Pittsburgh native, who holds the DU career rebounding record with 1,085 boards and now has 1,313 points, passed two former Dukes: Amy Alger who tallied 1,306 points during her career from 1986-89 and Kathy Ridilla's 1,312 points. Ridilla is second on the rebounding list with 928 from 1986 through 1989.
Este-Shehu, Duquesne's top scorer from the 2000-01 season who missed all of last year because of a preseason ACL injury, was averaging 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in her previous eight games. Tonight's contest was her fifth start and her best outing this season. She also dished out one assist and blocked a shot. And while the Dukes had 20 turnovers, the Toronto-native did not lose the ball in her 28 minutes on the court. She was 4-for-6 from the field, 2-for-2 from behind the arc and 5-for-8 from the foul line.
DU, which leads the conference with 4.35 blocks per game, knocked away three of URI's attempts and for the fourth time this season went the entire 40 minutes with having a shot of their own rejected.
Duquesne will host Saint Joseph's, the A-10 East Division leader at 9-1, 14-7 overall, on Sunday at 2:00 pm at the Palumbo Center. The home game can be heard over the internet at RedZoneMedia.com with Alex Panormios and Tad Maurey providing the play-by-play.