Women’s basketball downed by Robert Morris, Duquesne
By: Adam Gorski
After securing their first two wins of the season before Thanksgiving, Canisius women’s basketball could not keep their momentum going as they fell at home to Robert Morris this past Saturday, 57–43, and then on the road to Duquesne, 69–60, on Wednesday.
In the Griffs’ first game of the week against the Colonials, an 8–0 Robert Morris run spanning roughly three minutes in the first quarter gave the visitors the lead, as they held a 13–8 advantage after the first quarter.
It wound up being a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way.
The Griffs (2–5) managed to cut their deficit to single digits with six minutes to play after a free throw, making it 45–36, but a 10–2 Robert Morris (3–3) run directly afterwards put Canisius’s comeback dreams to bed. The Colonials would jump out to a lead as big as 17 points in the fourth quarter, holding the Griffs to just 27.1% shooting from the field, and a 3-for-20 mark from 3-point range on the day.
“Coming in, we knew Robert Morris was going to be a tough defensive opponent and we were going to have to be really crisp on the offensive side,” Griffs head coach Sahar Nusseibeh told GoGriffs.com. “Unfortunately, I think the first half we didn't execute what we prepped for. We moved the ball around and we had opportunities. … We had a lid on the bucket and took the lid off in the third quarter, but I just don't think it was enough: defensively in that fourth quarter, we kind of fell apart a little bit.”
Esther Castedo led Robert Morris with 17 points, while sophomore Dani Haskell’s game-high 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists paced Canisius.
A poor first half wound up dooming the Griffs away from home against Duquesne.
After a three-pointer from Cheyenne Stubbs knotted the game 10–10 with 3:55 to play in the first quarter, the Dukes (4–4) would go on to outscore the Griffs 29–13 the rest of the first half, giving them a 39–23 halftime lead.
Canisius would battle back in the second half, cutting the Duquesne lead to 10 points on multiple occasions, but failing to get any closer until the final seconds. The Griffs outscored the Dukes 37–30 in the second half.
“I am proud of how our team responded in the second half,” Nusseibeh told GoGriffs.com. “To outscore a team like Duquesne 37–30 in the last 20 minutes is huge for us in terms of measuring our progress offensively. … When you go up against girls 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-3 for 40 minutes with our height, you are going to wear down. Duquesne did a great job taking advantage of their size.”
One of those 6-foot-plus players Nusseibeh referenced was the Dukes’ sophomore center Precious Johnson, who put up 19 points and six rebounds, even with teammate Fatou Pouye for the game’s leading scorer.
Canisius was led by freshman Lydia Gattozzi, who had a career-high 15 points off the bench on 50% shooting.
Gattozzi is the freshman Nusseibeh has leaned on most in the young season, as the Ohio native is averaging both the fourth-most minutes (21.9) and points (6.6) per game on the team.
“[Gattozzi] only knows how to go hard and we are so glad that she finally had some offensive success today,” Nusseibeh told GoGriffs.com. “It is always fun to see workers like her make an impact. Tonight was a breakout game for her and we are excited to see her continue to grow this season."
The Griffs return to the Koessler Athletic Center on Dec. 8 for a non-conference matchup with Youngstown State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.