Playing in just their second game in nearly 40 days, the Pitt women’s basketball team topped Clemson for the second time this season after their 79-69 win on Tuesday.
This victory was Pitt’s (4-4, 2-3 ACC) first time in the win column since their first win over the Tigers on Dec. 13.
The wealth was shared on the offensive end, as ten Panthers scored. It was Liatu King and Destiny Strother that led the team with 15 points each.
Clemson (9-6, 5-5 ACC) was paced by Delcia Washinton, who had 17 points and six assists. Gabby Elliot was close behind with a 16 point outing.
King’s best game as a Pittsburgh Panther began with a quick six point contribution off the bench. Clemson countered with Delicia Washington, who found a few quick buckets of her own. Regardless of her efforts, Pitt held a bite sized lead for well over half of the first quarter.
Pitt’s solid start came even after Jayla Everett missed her first six shots. The cold start did not phase her, though, as she sank a three front the left wing to give Pitt a lead shortly after Clemson went ahead. Pitt’s lead was, in large part, because of their ball security.
The Panthers committed just one turnover in the period while harassing Clemson ball handlers on the other end.
Pitt’s lead, despite the solid opening quarter, sat at just two points, 19-17, after the first ten minutes.
That thin lead was quickly erased after Shania Meertens scored off of a Dayshanette Harris turnover, one of three giveaways by the Panthers in the quarter’s first three minutes. King continued to stay hot and pushed Pitt back in front after making a layup.
Clemson sharpshooter Kendall Spray didn’t let the Panthers get too comfortable with the lead, making a three to put Clemson back ahead, 22-20.
Both teams traded some buckets, but it was Clemson that held a small lead until Jayla Everett hit a three to level the game at 27. Again, it was Everett that hit a dagger with a hand in her face to put the Panthers back in front, 30-29.
The Panthers built on their lead and carried a 38-33 lead into the half. Nine Panthers scored in the opening half, and the team forced Clemson to turn the ball over 12 times, double the number of their own giveaways.
Strother grew Pitt’s lead to six after the teams exchanged some early buckets. Harris began heating up from the floor, scoring six points in a row to help expand Pitt’s lead after Clemson got back within one possession.
The lead continued to grow for the blue and gold, and Gabbie Green countered a three by Spray to ensure that momentum stayed in Pitt’s favor.
Pitt took their first double-digit lead of the half after an Everett free throw, but Clemson’s Destiny Thomas responded with a three that put some life into the Tiger’s bench.
Clemson had an adequate amount of chances to close in on the lead after stringing a few stops together, but were plagued by a turnover, missed shots and a pair of missed free throws. The squandered chance to put a run together allowed Pitt to carry a 58-51 lead into the final quarter.
Clemson chopped at that lead after a pair of Washington free throws made Pitt’s lead just three points.
After Pitt extended the lead once again, the Tigers made it a three point game yet again. Much like the waning minutes of the third quarter, Clemson squandered its chances.
Pitt began knocking down shots in the offensive end again after a brief cold period, and King made a layup that granted her another and-one opportunity. Although the effort for a three-point play was unsuccessful, Pitt seemed to get its spark back.
The team did not allow that spark to burn out, and the Panthers commanded the final minutes of the game en route to a 79-69 victory.
The Panthers return to action on Thursday when they visit Syracuse for the first time this season. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE