PITTSBURGH — Pitt had a big third quarter, but their comeback came up short as the Panthers lost their sixth consecutive game, 74-57 on Thursday night to Virginia.
Down 37-26 midway through the third quarter, Pitt sustained an 11-0 run to tie the Cavaliers at 37-37. Virginia then went on their own 10-2 run near the end of the third quarter to separate themselves from the Panthers and springboard them to the victory.
“We made a great run and cut their lead, were tied and back and forth through that,” Pitt head coach Lance White said. “They hit a couple shots and we didn’t respond. That’s always the thing in big-time basketball is that they’re going to make a run. You’ve got to shorten there’s and lengthen yours as much as you can. We knocked them one time and we fell over.”
Both Pitt and Virginia got off to slow starts in the first quarter, as there were many sloppy possessions from both teams. In the second quarter the Panthers’ offense continued to struggle, as missed shots and turnovers plagued the Panthers and the Cavaliers took advantage, carrying a 31-21 lead into halftime.
Pitt struggled to get much of anything going in the first half of the game. Pitt shot 8 of 26 from the field and committed 10 turnovers.
Senior forward Danielle Garvin helped spark Pitt’s third quarter run, scoring six of her 19 points during that stretch. Fellow forward Cara Judkins led the Panthers with 18 points on 8 of 14 shooting.
“After the first couple high-low passes from [Danielle], it built up my confidence and when she starting making it, the energy, it really helped me because it was like if I can’t do this then she can,” Judkins said. “It’s just nice to be able to know that OK, I’m playing well, she’s playing well. I thought we worked off each other really well.”
Virginia proved to be too much for the Panthers in the fourth quarter as they pulled away for a convincing win. Guards Dominique Toussaint and Jocelyn Willoughby led the way for the Cavaliers, each scoring 19 points.
“We needed to buckle down in the crucial moments because we had a lot of breakdowns on defense and just knowing that they are key players and so they can get their shot up,” Garven said. “Just making sure we get that stop.”
The Panthers’ ACC losing streak was extended to 13 straight games. Their last ACC win came Feb. 1, 2018 against Clemson.
The Cavaliers were without 6-foot-9 junior center Felicia Aiyeotan, who has battled injuries the entire season. She had played in Virginia’s last three games, but missed 11 straight games before that.
Pitt’s next game is on the road against No. 4 Louisville on Saturday. Tip off is scheduled for 2 p.m.