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Dukes shuts down Kemph, head to Title game

Duquesne used a balanced offensive attack, getting double-digit scoring from three different starters, en route to a close win against a Saint Louis Billikens team that never seemed to find an offensive rhythm. Now the Dukes look forward to a chance to take down reigning Atlantic 10 Champion George Washington in tomorrow's finals matchup.

A-10 Co-Player of the Year April Robinson leads her team to victory against Saint Louis.
A-10 Co-Player of the Year April Robinson leads her team to victory against Saint Louis.
Atlantic-10 Conference and Mitchell Leff

A back and forth contest between two of the three Atlantic 10 regular season co-champions came down to the final seconds. The matchup between Duquesne and Saint Louis pitted the two A-10 Co-Players of the Year against each other, in a battle between the conference's best two point guards.

At the end of the day, though, the Dukes' floor general reigned supreme, as April Robinson led her team to a chance to unseat the reigning champion George Washington Colonials in tomorrow's Championship game.

Saint Louis found themselves within striking range at the end of the fourth, despite a rare off night from top guard Jackie Kemph. Her 1-7 start was indicative of the Billikens early shooting struggles, with the Saint Louis starting off the game missing eight straight. Duquesne, however, needed no time to prepare, exploding out of the gate for a quick 9-0 lead.

Olivia Jakubicek scored the Billikens first points with a three that came five and a half minutes into the first, and helped spark the run that put her team back in the game, with Saint Louis only down by four heading into the second quarter.

Thankfully for the Billikens, Duquesne had their own troubles during the second period. A meager four points were all the Dukes managed to put up in ten minutes, giving Saint Louis a 12-4 run that spanned the entire quarter. Sadie Stipanovich and Jordyn Frantz rose to the occasion, giving life to a Saint Louis offense that seemed inanimate without the dynamic of their star point guard.

But whatever was afflicting the Dukes' game in the second quarter had quickly dissipated by the time third was underway. A seven-point quarter for Robinson combined with eight from Deva-Nyar Workman stabilized the sinking Duquesne offense and re-established their lead by the end of the period.

Kadri-Ann Lass, the team's leading scorer and rebounder with 15 and nine, gave Robinson and Workman an easy outlet for their passes, each contributing a few assists to Lass's point total.

Jackie Kemph finally re-discovered her groove in the fourth quarter, and her and-one play with five minutes put the Billikens ahead. However, after a media timeout with three minutes remaining, Kemph missed a layup on the following possession, gave up two free throw points to Emilie Gronas on a poor foul, then followed that up with another missed layup on the possession after that.

Workman's missed three on the other end ensured that Saint Louis would have a chance to lead, onlt down one with 60 seconds on the clock. But Jamesia Price's drive to the basket ended with a charge, and that turnover set up an April Robinson three, giving the Dukes a two-possession lead with only 22-second remaining.