Pittsburgh -- Sophomore forward Mary Durojaye (London, England/Barking Abbey) and senior forward Monica Jones (Pittsburgh/Woodland Hills (Howard College)) each recorded double-doubles as the Robert Morris University women's basketball team took out Duquesne, 69-61, at the A.J. Palumbo Center on Tuesday night. Durojaye and Jones combined to match the Dukes (6-2) rebound total of 24 and help the Colonials outrebound their cross-county rival, 44-24, and get out to a 4-2 start on the season.
"This was a really big win for us. There are three Division I teams in Pittsburgh and we are always looking to earn recognition in the community as one of the high caliber teams in the area," said RMU head coach Sal Buscaglia. "I think this win adds to what we have already earned by going to two NCAA tournaments in the last three seasons."
Durojaye finished with 10 points and added 13 rebounds to record her first career double-double. Jones added 12 points and 11 rebounds to get her first career double-double as well. Senior guard Angela Pace (Westchester, N.Y./Woodlands (Monroe College)) led all scorers with 22 points and added seven assists while playing all 40 minutes.
Neither team could find the basket in the first 10 minutes of the contest as Robert Morris limped out to a 10-9 lead with 9:51 left in the first half. A 6-0 RMU run coincided with junior guard Kristine Silaraja (Ventspils, Latvia/Ventspils (Barton County)) entering the game. She tallied six of the team's next eight points as they ran out to a 16-9 lead. Silaraja finished with 10 points.
After exchanging hoops, Duquesne responded with a 12-2 surge fed by five points from Alex Gensler. The spurt put the Dukes on top, 22-18, with 3:35 left. That basket, however, was the last of the half for the host team.
RMU closed out the stanza on a 9-0 run as Vega Gimeno-Martinez (Valencia, Spain/Spanish National U-20) finished off a three-point play just in front of a Jones three-pointer that gave the squad a 27-22 lead at the break. RMU went 8-17 from the floor after Silaraja entered the game after starting off hitting just two of their first 11 shots.
The second half went back-and-forth, featuring seven lead changes and eight ties. Duquesne erased the Colonials lead with five straight to open the second half, only to watch freshman Jasmine Tate (Columbus, Ohio/Harvest Prep) hit a three followed by a Durojaye layup to put RMU back up five.
The Dukes, spurred on by a three-pointer from Keri Pryor and Samantha Pollino, answered with a 6-0 spurt to take the lead with 13:43 left. The squads traded baskets over the next seven minutes when Duquense took a 54-53 lead on a three-point play by Rachel Frederick with 6:23 showing.
A Gimeno layup on the next possession gave RMU the lead for good. A pair of Durojaye free throws followed before a Pace jumper and another Durojaye free throw put the Colonials up six. The Dukes cut the lead to four with 32 seconds left, but Robert Morris knocked down 7-of-10 freebies in the final 58 seconds to secure the victory, 69-61.The charity shots capped a 16-7 run to end the game.
Pryor led the Dukes with 20 points while Gensler added 10 as the only other player in double-digits for Duquesne. The Dukes finished the game shooting 39.0 percent, 53.3 percent in the second half after hitting at just a 24.1 percent clip in the opening 20 minutes. RMU connected on 43.1 percent of their shots and were 21-for-27 from the charity stripe.
RMU opened Northeast Conference play Saturday with a 74-62 victory over Wagner. The Colonials have now won six straight NEC openers and have beaten the Seahawks 10 straight times dating back to the 2004-05 season.