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Pitt Women No Match for No. 8 N.C. State

Pitt guard Jasmine Whitney dribbles past N.C. State's Kiara Leslie on Jan. 10, 2019 at Reynolds Coliseum. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now)

Pitt Women No Match for No. 8 N.C. State

RALIEGH, N.C. — The N.C. State Wolfpack looked like a well-oiled machine Thursday night, and despite how hard Pitt’s women’s basketball team tried, there was little the Panthers did to stifle the AP’s No. 8 team on their home court.

Behind an all-around effort of 16 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks from Kiara Leslie, the Wolfpack rolled to their 16th straight win of the season, topping the Panthers 63-34 inside James T. Valvano Arena at William Neal Reynolds Coliseum.

The Panthers were led by Kauai Bradley, who tallied eight points and three rebounds on the night. No Pitt player scored in double digits.

Just 34 points by the Panthers marks their lowest-scoring total of the season. Their previous season-low was 41 points in a road loss to Georgetown on Nov. 19.

It was the second straight defeat for Pitt (9-7; 0-2 ACC), and while the Panthers suffered defeat by a wide margin, it wasn’t due to a lack of effort. Even as shots clanked off the rim on the offensive end, Pitt players were still diving for loose balls on defense and trying to poke possessions away from the Wolfpack’s ball-handlers. Pitt finished the game with seven steals, 30 rebounds and forced N.C. State into 14 turnovers.

Pitt got some decent looks at the basket, but shots simply weren’t falling. The Panthers made just 12-of-53 field goals, a 22.6 percent success rate.

Part of that was due to the Wolfpack’s expertise on defense — they rank ninth in the country in opponent field goal percentage, allowing just 33.4 percent of shots to go into their foes’ basket — but it was also due to the Panthers just flat-out missing. Not only was Pitt unable to find success from outside, shooting 25 percent on 16 shots from three-point land, but they struggled inside too, scoring just 12 points in the painted area.

“I know that (Pitt) relies on their post a lot,” Leslie said. “We knew that we could help off the guards a little bit and sink down into the post. I think we did a great job with that tonight.”

The Wolfpack can score in bunches though, averaging 76.4 points per-game. Pitt has only scored 76 points or more three times this season, all in wins over mid-major opponents. N.C. State put their scoring talents on display in the second quarter, when they went on an 11-1 run over a four-minute stretch.

Due to the Wolfpack’s high-volume scoring, and Pitt’s lack of it, the game was out of reach by the end of the third quarter, with N.C. State leading by 26 points.

After back-to-back road games against ACC teams ranked inside the top 10 of the AP Poll, the Panthers will return to Pittsburgh for a four-game home-stand against Boston College, No. 12 Syracuse, Clemson and Virginia.

The Panthers will tip-off against the Boston College Eagles at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Notes

  • The Panthers have not won an ACC game since Feb. 1, 2018.
  • Pitt’s women’s basketball team has not beaten a team ranked inside the AP’s top 10 since Jan. 8, 2015, when it beat No. 8 North Carolina 84-59.
  • Pitt is now 2-6 all-time vs. N.C. State.
  • The Panthers are 4-3 in their last seven games, but have trailed by at least nine points in each of them.
  • Cassidy Walsh connected on one-of-four three-pointers on Thursday. She has made a shot from behind the arc in nine straight games.

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