Her last hurrah
PITTSBURGH — Time has changed things rather swiftly for Olivia Bresnahan at Duquesne University.
Upon transferring from Florida State, the Butler graduate had to wait nearly a year before being eligible to suit up for a Dukes’ women’s basketball game.
Now, finally, the 5-foot-11 senior point guard will be able to play a full season at Duquesne.
Only she’s not expected to just run the show.
She’s expected to be a big part of it.
“My game has always been to penetrate and dish off to the open player,” Bresnahan admitted. “This year, I know I’ll have to be a little more selfish and contribute more to the scoring.
“I won’t be hesitant to shoot the outside shot. I’ve been developing that over the summer. I’ll be more than willing to let it fly.”
Bresnahan scored a collegiate career-high 19 points against West Virginia last year in her debut game with Duquesne. She never scored more than 12 points in a game the rest of the season.
She did average 4.2 rebounds and nearly three assists per game, producing 33 steals while starting 20 of the 22 games she appeared in last year.
But the Dukes’ top two scorers from that 20-13 season — Wumi Agunbiade (15.5 ppg.) and Raegan Moore (13.8) — have graduated. Fellow starting guard April Robinson (10.8 ppg.) and Bresnahan (8.1 ppg.) are the team’s top returning scorers.
“We’ve got ability on this team, but a lot of it is inexperienced,” Duquesne coach Dan Burt said. “In Olivia and April, we’ll have two starting point guards on the floor.
“In fact, going into camp, those are the only two players who are ensured of starting positions.
“We will go as far as Olivia and April take us. It boils down to that,” Burt added.
Bresnahan welcomes such a challenge.
“My role has definitely changed,” she said. “I’m expected to do more things, particularly on the scoring side. I have to get my points and set up other players to get their points.”
And those other points will come from a variety of sources.
“We have no go-to type of scorer this year,” Bresnahan admitted. “We have a lot of new faces on the court and we’ve got a deep bench.
“It’s up to April and I to develop this group into a cohesive, productive unit. We need to make that happen and I’m confident we will.
“Everybody on our team has the ability to score and make plays, It’s going to be fun,” she added.
Duquesne opens the 2014-15 regular season Sunday, hosting Princeton at 2 p.m. at the Palumbo Center.
Burt is entering his second year as head coach, succeeding Suzie McConnell-Serio prior to last season.
“Only 21 teams in women’s basketball have consistently won 20 or more games a season for the past six or seven years,” he said. “We’re one of those teams.
“I like our chances of winning more than 20 games and contending for an NCAA Tournament berth. Our toughness and competitiveness need to win out and Olivia will be at the forefront of all that. In that sense, this is her team.”
Bresnahan’s biggest individual goal is to be an effective leader on the team.
“I want to provide direction on the floor,” she said. “I want us to win an Atlantic 10 championship and get to the NCAA Tournament. This is it for me.
“I’m hoping to get a chance to play overseas after college. I know the time is going to fly by this season.
“It’s going to be exciting. But I’ll be upset when it’s over,” Bresnahan added