Slighted Dukes making case for recognition

It never was close. Those four words just about sum up the Duquesne women’s basketball team and Sunday’s 89-58 home win against Dayton.

A 12-0 run allowed the Dukes to be the aggressor early and a banged up Flyers squad never recovered.

Senior guard April Robinson earned her first career triple-double at any level and did so quietly. She flirted with the milestone earlier this season, but did so Sunday.

If Robinson was unaware of the milestone Duquesne fans, which loudly chanted “triple-double” quickly filled her in.

Sports is all about information and statistics this day, take it from my friend and DK Pittsburgh Sports colleague Matt Gajtka who fascinates each week with a Matt’s Stats piece.

Going into this season I had no clue that women’s basketball had a player efficiency. Coach Dan Burt still has no idea how it works, but I was given a basic introduction by Duquesne Sports Information Director Ryan Gavatorta. I’ll spare you the numbers and formulas and go on with my point.

Senior guard Deva’Nyar Workman was a +43 in the Dayton win. Whether you know advanced statistics or not, it is easy to know that this is good. When Workman is on the court, the Dukes perform well and it makes opposing coaches very nervous. Everything changes when Workman is in the game and she is not even in the starting lineup.

As for the team still not being ranked in the top-25 poll, there is not much logical explanation to it. It is not as if this is Duquesne’s first season doing well. After all, the Dukes have been in the WNIT for years now. They are a consistently good program which this season have become better.

January is way too early to gauge as to whether an NCAA Tournament bid is a possibility, but it is not too early to know that the team at this point, should be in the top-25.

Sure the non-conference schedule was perceived as weak but voters need to look beyond the box score. It is not all wins but how they happen and why they happen. Duquesne has built a successful culture where the players take ownership of the program. Wins are not enough. It is about how well they perform.

Sometimes the locker room may be confused for a library it is so quiet.

I have covered the Dukes for all of Burt’s time there from the introductory press conference announcing his hire through the Dayton win and will continue to do so.

Wins are not the whole story. It is the way this team has adjusted every season based on personnel, became a family and now have the ultimate belief and trust in each other.

Something special is going on in Pittsburgh.

It’s a shame the voters decide to favor bigger name schools or base decisions off of relationships. The results are in their faces. Duquesne 13-1. Duquesne 18 consecutive home wins. Duquesne six road wins. Duquesne consistent Atlantic 10 Player and Rookie of the Week honors. Duquesne five scorers in double figures.

I’d keep going, but instead I will direct you to my DK Pittsburgh Sports notebook on these and other topics. It is worth your time and should make you frustrated.

Photo credits: Stephen Pope and Ed Thompson


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