DURHAM, N.C. — With eight minutes to play in the second quarter, it looked like Pitt’s women’s basketball team was on track to snap a painful losing streak of eight games.
At that point, the Panthers were dominating the Duke Blue Devils in the paint, taking care of the ball and had even hit a few three-pointers. And then something flipped. Duke went on a run and were leading by nine points near the end of that quarter.
Pitt fought tooth and nail. It wasn’t due to a lack of effort, but the Panthers lost their ninth straight game on Sunday, falling 74-55 to Duke inside Cameron Indoor Stadium in front an announced crowd of 3,722 fans.
Leading the way for Pitt was senior guard Cassidy Walsh, who had 18 points. The Seton LaSalle Catholic high school grad also tallied seven rebounds, two assists and three steals. Walsh’s six three-pointers made were a career-high.
The Panthers (9-14; 0-9 ACC) found success early by pounding the ball inside and chasing the Blue Devils (10-11; 2-7 ACC) off the three-point line. Duke shot 33 percent from behind the arc in the opening period, while Pitt made six shots in the paint in the first half. Pitt also knocked down a trio of three-pointers in the first quarter, which helped give them a 19-17 advantage heading into the second quarter.
Duke grabbed the lead in the second quarter by going on a 15-4 run. It heavily featured buckets from Haley Gorecki, who notched a triple-double with 16 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. It was the eighth triple-double in the history of Duke’s women’s basketball program. Gorecki also had three steals and a block.
Pitt cut the deficit to seven points in the fourth quarter, but in the last five minutes the Blue Devils pulled away and coasted to a victory with an 18-6 run.
After shooting more than 40 percent from the floor in the first and second quarters, Pitt had trouble finding the basket in the second half, making just 26.7 and 25 percent of their shots in the third and fourth quarters, respectively. Adding to Pitt’s woes were 21 turnovers.
The Panthers were able to nearly match the Blue Devils on the glass, with Duke taking a narrow 42-41 edge in rebounds.
Miela Goodchild led Duke in scoring with 20 points and Jade Williams added 15 points. Jasmine Whitney and Cara Judkins each tallied nine points and four rebounds for the Panthers.
For Pitt, the loss keeps them winless in ACC play. The Panthers haven’t won a conference match-up in over a year, when they beat Clemson on Feb. 1, 2018. Duke also stays undefeated against Pitt in women’s basketball, owning a 10-0 record dating back to 2006.
The Panthers are flying back to Pittsburgh Sunday night, but then hit the road again in a few days for a Feb. 7 contest at Georgia Tech (13-9; 3-6 ACC).