Hawks Advance Behind a 65 – 49 Win Over the Duquesne Dukes
WILMINGTON, DE 3/3/2022 –
Postseason time for the young Saint Joseph’s Hawks. The freshman dominated starting lineup was ready for this moment, and showed it beating Duquesne 65 – 49 at the Chase Fieldhouse. A team the Hawks defeated at the end of the regular season. Saint Joe’s moves on to the quarterfinal round to face the 2nd seeded Rhode Island Rams.
“We were really ready for it,” said Hawks forward Talya Brugler the conference Rookie of the Year. “We had just come off a win against Duquesne. We’ve been prepping for a week and a half. Our defense was good today. We were ready to come and prove ourselves.”
Hawks Defense Dominated
The Hawks did not allow the Dukes to get rolling and on defense held them to 7 points in each of the first two quarters, the second lowest number of points allowed by SJU in a quarter this season. One of the most effective defensive performances by the Hawks this season according to Coach Cindy Griffin.
“It ranks as one of the top two or three this season,” Griffin said. “We’ve been inconsistent holding teams under their average. Having a familiar opponent, playing them back to back, really helped. We prepared, made adjustments that needed to be made. Our coverage was good on the ball, but really good off the ball.”
The Dukes leading scorers Libby Bazelak and Amaya Hamilton were held to 5 and 4 points by a total team defensive effort.
Freshman Forwards Impact
Saint Joe’s led from start to finish. The readiness was shown by the frosh forwards. Talya Brugler and Laila Fair scored 20 points each. For Brugler it was a career-high in scoring and her 8 field goals tied her collegiate-best. Brugler shot 8 of 14 with one three-pointer and 8 rebounds. Fair tied her career-high in scoring as she converted 6 of 11 and sank 8 of 9 free throws, another career-best in made free throws. Fair became ready due to the work she put in this season.
“This season nothing was easy,” Fair said. “You have to work for everything want. You have to come to work a little bit harder because you are a freshman.”
Saint Joseph’s had a 34 – 16 points in the paint advantage. The offense was rolling despite making only 2 of 14 three-pointers. They did not need it as the forwards were effective. Mackenzie Smith added 9 points and 7 rebounds. Credit to the guards for the success of the front court.
“The screens the guards were setting and just finding us inside,” Brugler said. “Sometimes we were working hard inside and they were looking for us.”
The Dukes got 15 points from guard Tess Myers sinking 4 from beyond the arc. Precious Johnson contributed 11 points. Duquesne shot 27% for the game (16 of 59). Megan McConnell added 5 steals.
Saint Joe’s assisted 17 times on 22 made baskets. Eight of the nine players in the game recorded at least one assist. Katie Jekot and Smith led with 4 each.
Up Next For SJU
The Rams are next for this dangerous Saint Joe’s team who is trending in the right direction of playing its best basketball at the end of the season.
“I definitely do,” said Griffin if she thought the team was playing its best at this time. “A win in Pittsburgh earlier and this win. I think we have a lot more to give. I’m pleased with they way our team responded. I like the balance with our youth and our older guys who have done a good job of leading. I’m excited for tomorrow.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian