Samantha Pollino scored six points in the game's final 1:46 and had game-best 12 rebounds.
After opening with an early 17-10 lead, Cornell went on a 17-10 run in the next six plus minutes to tie the contest at 27-27. A Lauren Benson 3-pointer gave Cornell a 32-31 lead at the 2:51 mark and started an 11-1 run to end the half giving the Big Red a 42-32 lead going into halftime.
Duquesne had an excellent first half shooting 52 percent (13-of-25) while holding the Big Red to 39 percent from the floor, but the Dukes were hurt by 13 turnovers which resulted in 16 Cornell points.
The Dukes chipped away at the Big Red lead and midway through the second half a Keri Pryor fade-away jumper from the foul line gave the Dukes a 54-53 lead at the 10:36 mark.
A steal by Jaclyn Babe set up Jocelyn Floyd for a layup to give the Dukes a 58-55 advantage with 9:01 remaining. The lead was short-lived as Benson hit a three pointer eight seconds later to tie the contest at 58-58.
With 2:51 to play, Alexandra Munson hit one of two foul shots to give Cornell a 67-66 lead. DU regained the lead on Pollino's jumper with 1:46 left. Benson would answer on the next possession with a driving layup to put the Big Red ahead 69-68 with 85 seconds remaining.
Trying to add to the lead, Benson attempted a 3-pointer with 37 seconds left, but if fell short and was rebounded by Pollino. The Dukes called a timeout to set up what would be the game-winning play. Pollino's jumper gave the Dukes a 70-69 lead with 23 seconds left. Alex Gensler grabbed the rebound off Benson's missed shot on the next possession and was immediately fouled. Gensler made both foul shots giving DU a 72-69 lead.
Cornell had a chance to tie the game, but Gensler blocked a Virginia McMunigal 3-pointer with four seconds remaining.
Duquesne will remain on the road for Sunday's game at Niagara. The Dukes and Purple Eagles tipoff at 2:00 P.M.