Bethel Park’s Liv Westphal commits to Duquesne

Friday, May 1, 2020 | 1:15 PM

Three years ago, Bethel Park’s Liv Westphal and her family took an unofficial recruiting visit to Duquesne before her freshman year of high school.

The Dukes were the first women’s basketball team to show interest in the future Black Hawks star.

“We were in coach Dan Burt’s office for like three hours just talking,” Westphal said. “In the middle of our conversation he said, ‘Did your parents ever say they’d buy you a car if you get a full scholarship?’ I said, ‘Actually, they did tell me that.’ He said, ‘Well, you’d better go buy her a car because I’m offering a full scholarship.’

“It was so exciting.”

That was the start of a recruiting process that saw 15 Division I schools offer scholarships to the 5-foot-9 guard, but she never forgot about the Dukes and they never lost contact with her. That was important to the junior, who committed Thursday to Duquesne.

“It’s just so cool how they stayed in touch with me all through the years of my high school career,” Westphal said. “Other coaches would offer me and then lose communication. But that never happened with them. That’s what made me pick Duquesne.”

Westphal averaged 15 points this season for the Black Hawks, who went 23-3, were the WPIAL runners-up and reached the state quarterfinals. She earned second-team all-state honors in April.

Westphal received a Duquesne offer in August 2017. She’d since added more than a dozen more, including Akron, Charlotte, Fordham, George Washington, Manhattan, Miami (Ohio), Monmouth, Toledo and Wichita State.

She had plenty of options, but felt urgency to commit.

“I definitely saw a lot of other (Class of) ‘21s committing and I was just thinking about how, if I lost this (Duquesne) offer, I’d be so upset and devastated,” Westphal said. “I was finally ready to pull the trigger and commit.”

Duquesne already had three WPIAL players and Chartiers Valley senior guard Megan McConnell is headed there before next season.

“They love guards and they love to shoot the ball,” Westphal said. “I’m known as a shooter, so that’s what I was most excited about.”

Westphal had helped Bethel Park reached the state quarterfinals this season before the PIAA canceled the tournament in response to the covid-19 outbreak. That, she said, was a tough way for a season to end.

“It was honestly so sad,” Westphal said. “We were such a tight group. I’ve been playing with the seniors ever since fifth grade. It was kind of hard how it ended like that. We were on a mission this year. We wanted that state win so bad. It was so sad. It was devastating.”

Westphal is eager to get back on the court. She said she’s used to playing basketball year-round, but for now she’s limited to the hoop outside her house. She keeps in basketball shape with 2-mile runs through her neighborhood daily.

“I’m used to playing all year,” she said. “When high school ends I go straight to AAU, so it’s kind of different.”

The immediate future remains uncertain but she’s relieved to have her college future settled.

“I felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders,” she said.

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at


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