PITTSBURGH - Desirae Ball scored 11 points to lead Saint Louis in the Billikens' 68-41 Atlantic 10 Conference loss to Duquesne Wednesday night at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
The Billikens slipped to 7-10 overall and 1-1 in the A-10. Duquesne improved to 13-3 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
Ball was 5-of-9 from the floor, including a 3-pointer. Lorreal Jones scored eight points, while Mallory Eggert and Halee Castleman tied for game-high honors with five rebounds apiece. Jacy Bradley had a game-high five assists.
Wumi Agunbiade was 10-of-19 from the floor and scored a game-high 23 points for Duquesne, which shot 50.8 percent from the field. Orsi Szecsi tallied 13 points, and Jocelyn Floyd had a game-high six steals.
"Duquesne is a very good team," head coach Lisa Stone said. "I'm impressed with their offensive movement and their defensive scheme. They have some great players who have the ability to anticipate and get into passing lanes. They turned us over 21 times. They gave us the first punch and hit us hard early."
Duquesne scored on seven of its first eight possessions to build a 16-6 lead, and a 12-0 flurry gave the Dukes a 30-8 cushion.
Ball buried a 3-pointer from the right wing to halt the run. She hit a baseline runner and a jumper in the lane, and Denisha Womack's three-point play punctuated a 10-3 Saint Louis spurt that narrowed the Duquesne lead to 33-18 at intermission. The Billikens held Duquesne scoreless on the Dukes' final eight possessions of the half.
However, Duquesne began the second half with an 8-2 run to push the advantage to 41-20. Ball grabbed an offensive rebound and made a layup, but the Dukes scored on their next two possessions and kept the margin above 20 points the rest of the way.
"The last seven minutes of the first half we held them in check, so at halftime I actually was very encouraged," Stone said. "I thought we would respond and come out with a lot more fire in the second half, but it just didn't happen. They were able to maintain their offensive continuity. We had moments but not enough moments."
The Billikens return home to host Saint Joseph's Sunday, Jan. 20. Game time at Chaifetz Arena is 1 p.m."The top of the A-10 is who we're facing right now," Stone said. "It's a tough, daunting schedule, and we respect everyone we play but fear no one. We have to get back on track and get ready for a Saint Joseph's team that is very similar to Duquesne. They're big inside, and we'll have to be a lot better defensively and not allow them to come in and throw us around so early in the first half."