Staffileno commits to Duquesne
WELLSBURG – Brooke senior Angela Staffileno has made a verbal commitment to play basketball at Duquesne University.
She did so Sunday afternoon.
“It came down to Duquesne and Richmond and I chose Duquesne because it’s closer and my family can watch me play,” she said. “They’re a winning program. They are a good educational school and they had the major I want to go into.
“This decision was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. The colleges I visited I really liked, so that made it harder.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play basketball at the highest level.”
Staffileno visited Duquesne, Richmond, James Madison, Shepherd, Fairmont State, Wheeling Jesuit and Gannon.
“I didn’t think it would be as hard of a decision as what it came to be,” she admitted. “I really liked the setup at Richmond (six hours away). But, having my family at my games was more important.”
The Dukes are members of the Atlantic 10 with Davidson, George Mason, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph’s, St. Louis, Rhode Island, VCU, Dayton, Fordham, George Washington, La Salle and Massachusetts.
She is Brooke’s all-time leading scorer in girls basketball with 1,365 points.
Along with her time in the Bruins’ uniform, Staffileno has made her big strides playing travel basketball the past four summers, locally the first two, in Morgantown a year ago and with the Western Pennsylvania Bruins the past few months.
“The three mains things I have improved on over the summer are my ballhandling, shooting and aggressiveness,” she admitted. “Coaches wanted me to be more comfortable handling the ball.
“I’m pretty comfortable with it in high school. But, it’s different in travel ball. I didn’t play much as a guard, and didn’t play as much outside as I do in high school.”
Staffileno was the captain of the Class AAA all-state second-team as voted on by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
She averaged 24 points, 13 rebounds, six blocked shots, two assists and two steals per game to lead the Bruins. She also shot 50 percent from the field.
Duquesne was the first school to offer Staffileno, and did so around January.
“I never really had a set time of when I wanted to decide,” she said. “It just happened to be before my senior year. Now, I’m glad the decision is over and I can just play ball. I didn’t want all the pressure of playing in front of all the coaches.”
Duquesne is led by second-year head coach Dan Burt, who graduated from West Liberty in 1993 and is from Washington, Pa.
In his first season, Burt guided the Dukes to their sixth straight 20-win season, becoming one of 21 teams in NCAA Division I that has won 20-or-more games each year since the 2009 season.
Duquesne played in the postseason for the sixth straight season. It had a second-round appearance in the WNIT.
Burt was a Duquesne assistant coach the previous six seasons before moving over one chair.
“I need to tweak all my skills and get myself into the best shape I can be,” Staffileno, who will major in exercise science, said about preparing for Division I basketball. “They’re a fast-paced team.
“We practiced against Duquesne and Pitt girls at our travel ball practices. That helped prepare me for our tournaments. This was my first year playing in the AAU elite bracket.
“I thought I did well against that type of competition.
“When I was playing in the lower levels (of travel ball) and we would go to tournaments, I would watch the other games going on in the higher level and it looked a lot more fun than what I was playing.”
“The speed and intensity of the game,” she admitted. “The speed of the game at the next level surprised me at first. But, practicing against the Pitt and Duquesne players really prepared me, really helped a lot.”