Workman propels Duquesne past Seton Hall, 97-76, in first round of NCAA tournament
— NCAA Women’s Basketball (@ncaawbb) March 19, 2016
STORRS, Conn. – Senior guard Deva’Nyar Workman, winner of the Sixth Woman of the Year award in the Atlantic 10 conference started for Duquesne on Saturday afternoon, and scored a career-high 25 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to lead the Dukes to a 97-76 victory over Seton Hall.
Both Duquesne and Seton Hall fell short in their conference tournaments, but their outstanding regular seasons earned them both at-large bids and a date with each other in the eight versus nine seed game at Gampel Pavilion. The prize to the winner? UConn on Monday night, winners earlier in the day over Robert Morris.
Duquesne finished the regular season in a three-way tie for the Atlantic 10 conference title with George Washington and Saint Louis, but non-conference games against tournament teams Princeton and St. John’s helped the Dukes to the number 18 overall RPI and an at-large bid.
“This is win or go home, so I had nothing to lose today,” said Workman. “I played with a lot of heart, along with my teammates. We were all just pushing for each other to just put everything out there.”
Workman was perfect from the floor in the first half as Duquesne opened a 43-37 halftime lead. Freshman Kadri-Ann Lass from Estonia, one of seven international players on coach Dan Burt’s squad contributed 20 points, junior Amadea Szamosi added 16 and senior point guard April Robinson scored 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had seven assists.
Robinson, the Nancy Lieberman Award candidate and co-player of the year in the conference was proud of her team’s effort in the face of attempted Seton Hall runs, saying “we didn’t back down, we just kept taking it to them.”
For Tony Bozzella and his team, their season ends for the second straight year disappointingly in the No. 8 v. No. 9 game, in Storrs. Last year they fell to Rutgers, this year Duquesne. Still, after graduating almost their entire offensive production from last year, Big East coaches placed them fifth in pre-season voting. Bozzella said their slow start did them in yesterday.
“Trying to play catch-up, really the warts start to come out,” said Bozzella. “And really, we showed a lot of them today, unfortunately.”
Seton Hall star Tabatha Richardson-Smith led the Pirates with 17 points, but was only 3-for-13 from three-point range when the Pirates needed to come back. Aleesha Powell and Shakena Richardson each finished with 13.
On Monday night a 9 p.m. ET, Burt’s Dukes will take on the team in pursuit of history; a national championship would be UConn’s fourth in a row and Auriemma’s eleventh, both records.
“We completely embrace the challenge of playing UConn,” Burt said postgame. “They’re the most dominant, best team in the world, in their league. That’s fact. We’re going to let fly. We’re going to play free. We’re going to have fun.”