PITTSBURGH — Though the story of Tuesday night’s Pitt women’s basketball game is junior guard Kyla Nelson’s return from cancer surgery, there was still a non-conference game to play against Miami (OH).
A five-point second quarter proved Pitt’s undoing in an 80-71 setback to the Redhawks, dropping the Panthers to 3-7 on the young season.
Miami (5-5) was led by Peyton Scott’s 24 points. The Redhawks shot 48.4% from the field on the evening.
Pitt was paced by junior guard Gabbie Green’s career-high of 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting. Green also added five rebounds.
“It was a tale of two halves again,” Pitt coach Lance White said. “With such a young team, we are constantly trying to figure out how to get them to sustain and play hard for a long period of time. You see glimpses. In the second half there were a lot of really good moments. Whenever you score five points in the second quarter and get down that much at halftime, it’s really hard to battle back and get over that hump. Not having Bugg hurt us and you had those freshmen having to do even more. Close but still not there yet.”
Senior guard Aysia Bugg did not play in Tuesday’s contest due to a hand injury, one which was declared minor by a team spokesperson. Bugg who leads Pitt with 15.7 points and 34.4 minutes per game is not expected to miss much time and this move was viewed as precautionary.
Still her absence was felt, namely in the second quarter where a scoreless streak which started at the end of the first quarter lasted 7:44.
Pitt initially led in the first quarter but defensively allowed many open shots, a habit which continued into the second quarter.
Miami fired at a 53.8% clip and forced Pitt to burn two timeouts in the frame. On Pitt’s end it fired at a 2-for-11 mark and trailed 38-19 at halftime. The 19 points represent Pitt’s lowest in a half this season.
Pitt was able to mount a comeback in the third quarter.
After some early baskets, Pitt used an 11-5 run in which it scored early on in its possessions and then provided pressure defense before halfcourt. Pitt cut its deficit to five points after freshman guard Dayshanette Harris
Miami had difficulties adjusting to the pressure defense but made timely baskets when needed as Pitt at times struggled to sprint back to the opposite end of the court. Though Pitt shot 66.7% from the field in the third quarter, the Redhawks laughed last putting its lead back up to 11 points as the buzzer sounded.
Pitt attempted to mount another comeback, this time using three-point shooting. Pitt made threes in three consecutive possessions as Green made two in a row and junior center Marcella Lamark made her first triple of the season.
After sophomore guard Ismini Prapa nailed her second three-point basket of the evening, Pitt trailed by four points, but it would not get any closer.
Miami made its foul shots and was able to match Pitt basket for basket until the end of the game. There, Pitt was unable to string together makes allowing the Redhawks to earn a victory.
Pitt next has two consecutive road games. It first will travel to face Cincinnati on Saturday, a contest which marks the end of non-conference play. Pitt then opens ACC play at North Carolina Dec. 30. Its next home contest is Jan. 2 against Notre Dame.