Pitt couldn’t hold on to an early lead and the Panthers dropped their 2019-20 season opener, losing 74-58 to UCF on Wednesday.
Pitt built a 20-11 lead through one quarter, but the Knights fought back, shooting over 50 percent from the field in the final three quarters to run away with the victory at Addition Financial Arena in Orlando.
Making her Pitt debut, junior college transfer Gabbie Green led the Panthers in scoring with 18 points from the wing while sixth-year guard Aysia Bugg had 17 points.
But Pitt struggled inside, as junior center Cara Judkins was held to four points and Pitt scored 16 points in the paint, compared to 24 for UCF. The rebounds were 33-23 in favor of the Knights.
“Obviously I am disappointed that we didn’t come away with the win today,” second-year head coach Lance White said. “But on the other hand, I was really pleased with our growth. Having inexperienced players in so many positions, I thought our team had to grow up quickly against a very good UCF team today. We will get better every day as we learn that college basketball is all about possessions and mental toughness.”
First-year guards Amber Brown and Dayshanette Harris rounded out White’s first starting lineup of 2019-20. Class of 2019 guard Emy Hayford played 22 minutes off the bench as the top bench option. Sophomores Ismini Prapa and Jahsyni Knight and first-year forward Rita Igbowke also saw playing time.
The Panthers played the Knights tighter a year ago, losing by three points at Petersen Events Center. UCF went on to an NCAA Tournament berth
Pitt returns home to play Central Connecticut State in the Panthers’ home opener at the Pete on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019 at 7 p.m.