PITTSBURGH — The Pitt women’s basketball team sent off its seniors on Sunday, as guards Kauai Bradley and Cassidy Walsh and forwards Danielle Garven and Kalista Walters were feted on senior day at Petersen Events Center.
The good vibes carried over from the pregame festivities into the first quarter, as Pitt trailed No. 3 Louisville by just two points after 10 minutes.
From there, the more-talented Cardinals took over after a 15-2 run in the second quarter. At the end, Pitt had held Louisville to its second-lowest scoring total in conference play, but suffered their own second-worst offensive performance in a 67-40 loss to the reigning ACC champs, as Louisville clinched a share of its second straight ACC title.
The Panthers fought hard, climbing back from an early 9-2 deficit and generally made one of the best teams in the country look surprisingly human. But Pitt lacks the elite size and skill to finish with a team like Louisville.
That’s the biggest part of the job that faces Lance White as he enters his second year on the job, and he’s done a large part of it, signing a five-player first-year class and a transfer already in advance of the 2019-20 season.
But there’s more to it than that. He also has to instill a notion in the entire program that Pitt can compete with some of the best programs in women’s basketball on a night-in, night-out basis.
His work in that aspect is why some players, such as senior guard Cassidy Walsh, feel the team is in a better place right now than a year ago, despite identical 2-14 records in ACC play.
“Coach White and his staff, they energy they have brought every single game, every single day in practice, no matter the time of day, it’s been so consistent,” Walsh said. “Just the energy has been phenomenal and no matter if we’re down 20 or down 40 or up five, Coach has made us be consistent with a great mindset.”
Here’s more from Walsh and White after Pitt’s senior day defeat:
Pitt senior Aysia Bugg, who has missed all but four games with blood clots, will apply for a sixth year with the NCAA. Bugg missed all of 2017-18 with a knee injury.
Here are my votes for ACC’s all-conference postseason awards.
Player of the Year: Asia Durr, Louisville
First Team: Durr; Arika Ogunbowale, Notre Dame; Beatrice Mompremier, Miami; Tiana Mangakahia, Syracuse; Paris Kea, North Carolina
Freshman of the Year: Elizabeth Balogun, Georgia Tech
All Freshman Team: Balogun; Makayla Dickens, Boston College; Dara Mabrey, Virginia Tech; Elissa Cunane, NC State; Elizabeth Dixon, Georgia Tech
Coach of the Year: Katie Meier, Miami