Duquesne's surges put away No. 18 Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh coach Agnus Berenato has been telling her team it wasn't prepared for the rigors of Big East Conference play.

If the Panthers (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) didn't get the message from their coach, they sure did from crosstown rival Duquesne.

Vanessa Abel scored 17 points to lead a balanced offense and Duquesne upset Pittsburgh 72-63 on Tuesday.

"We're not even close to being ready for the Big East, not even close," said Berenato, whose team lost a non-conference home game for the first time in more than five years. "That's something I tell my team every day.

"Right now we are a work in progress. We're struggling, and we have to find a leader."

Alex Gensler added 14 points, Samantha Pollino and Keri Pryor 13 points apiece and Diana Voynova 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Dukes (10-4), who have won four of five and beat a ranked opponent for the first time since Jan. 8, 1994.

"Obviously, this is a real big win for us and our program and our players," Duquesne coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. "I saw a difference in our players after coming back from Christmas break. They came back with an extra bounce in their step and an energy."

The Dukes took the lead for good midway through the first half. They closed the half on a 19-9 run and used a 10-0 run midway through the second half to all but put the game away.

The Dukes led by 18 with 3:45 to play. The Panthers (10-2) answered with a 14-2 run to cut the margin to six with 1:07 left, but they could get no closer.

"I think we stuck together on defense," Gensler said. "Every time we had a shot we didn't connect with, we came back and played defense. We weren't letting them make too big a run."

Taneisha Harrison led Pitt with 17 points. Shayla Scott added 16 points and Chelsea Cole had a game-high 21 rebounds for the Panthers, who advanced to the NCAA tournament's round of 16 in each of the past two seasons.

The Dukes improved to 10-30 against Big East teams, including 9-19 against the Panthers. Pitt had won the previous four meetings and also had a 13-game home winning streak snapped.

"In the first half, we didn't have the intensity we had at the end of the game," Scott said. "If we had that (at the beginning), it would have changed the whole entire game."

The Panthers, who shot only 31.6 percent from the field, had won 23 of their past 24 at home and hadn't lost a non-conference home game since Dec. 9, 2004, against Penn State.

Pitt made only six of 15 free throws and committed 21 turnovers.

"I thought Duquesne took advantage of some of the opportunities presented to them," Berenato said.

Duquesne, which had its first 20-win season last season, has one more non-conference game -- at Missouri on Saturday -- before entering Atlantic 10 play.

"Hopefully this win gives us confidence we can play with top teams," McConnell-Serio said.