Rams Rally to Stun Duquesne in A-10 Opener, 62-61

Rams Rally to Stun Duquesne in A-10 Opener, 62-61

Rhody Starters
Melendez, Wilson, Ward, Bullard, T. Johnson

Duquesne Starters
Johnson, Szamosi, Bresnahan, Nurkic, Robinson

How It Happened
Junior Symone Bullard drove the length of the floor and hit a layup with six seconds remaining as Rhode Island rallied from a 16-point second half deficit to edge Duquesne 62-61 Saturday.

Rhode Island (9-4, 1-0 A-10) did not hold its first lead until a 3-point basket by freshman Charise Wilson put the Rams up 58-55 with 33 seconds to go. Duquesne – which led by as many as 16 points in the second half – came right back with a pair of free throws by Jose-Ann Johnson to pull back within one point.

Wilson hit two more free throws with 21 seconds left to put the Rams up 60-57, but the Dukes (8-6, 0-1 A-10) came right back with a layup by April Johnson to make it 60-59. Johnson was fouled on the play but missed the free throw. Teammate Deva'Nyar Workman got the rebound and laid it in to put Duquesne back up, 61-60.

Bullard dribbled the length of the court and went right to the basket, hitting the layup over the defenders. Freshman Dominique Ward got a steal on the inbounds play to help secure the victory for the Rams.

Rhode Island's defense sparked the victory. Trailing 43-27 with 12:50 to go, Rhode Island held Duquesne without a field goal for the next 5:48, using a 16-1 run to pull within one point with 7:21 to go. During the run, the Rams caused six Duquesne turnovers and forced the Dukes to go 0-for-4 from the floor. 

Inside the Box Score

  • Junior Symone Bullard scored 14 of her career-high 16 points points in the second half. Bullard also tied her career high with six assists.
  • Freshman Dominique Ward scored a career-high 13 points, had two steals, two rebounds, one block and one assist. Ward was efficient, making 5-of-7 from the floor.
  • Freshman Charise Wilson scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. 
  • Senior Sydney Lewis had six points, six steals and five rebounds in 33 minutes off the bench.
  • Rhode Island held Duquesne scoreless for more than five minutes during two different stretches. Rhody blanked the Dukes for 5:10 late in the first half and again for 5:25 in the second half.
  • The Rams won for the first time this season when trailing at halftime.
  • The 43 points were the most Rhode Island has scored after the break this season.
  • The 16-point deficit was the largest Rhode Island has faced in a victory this season.
  • Rhode Island shot 61.5 percent (16-of-26) in the second half, easily the team's best performance in the second half this year. The previous best was 48.2 percent at UMass Lowell.
  • Rhode Island won its conference opener for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
  • The victory snapped an eight-game losing streak against Duquesne. Rhody had not beat the Dukes since a 74-57 win on Jan. 12, 2007.

Stat of the Game
61 – Rhode Island has held its last nine opponents to 61 points or less.  

What's Next
The Rams hit the road for a pair of games. Rhody visits VCU Thursday, Jan. 8 (7 p.m.) and then goes to Davidson Sunday, Jan. 11 (2 p.m.).