A five game losing streak is a difficult obstacle for any team to overcome. In the case of Pitt, however, competing in most games up until the final minutes and still coming up short had made the winless drought much more difficult.
Sunday’s loss to North Carolina, matched with the agony of the loss to Wake Forest in overtime on Thursday, made this week especially difficult for Pitt.
“It is frustrating that our last two games have come down to that final moment and that we’ve come up short both times,” said White. “It’s the frustration of being right there.”
The losses might be adding up for Pitt, but White remains optimistic when it comes to his team’s growth. With that in mind, he is still aware that his young team needs to show the maturity and decision making that goes hand-in-hand with winning games in the ACC.
“There’s no back down and no quit in them,” said White. “We’re right there, it’s that next layer, that next piece and, again, none of our team has ever experienced that, has never experienced the discipline it requires to be the top in the ACC.”
Pitt was unable to defend North Carolina without sending them to the line in the process. The Tar Heels shot a total of 31 free throws, putting the Panthers in foul trouble early. White states that his team needs to combat the frustrations that come with these frustrating situations on the court.
“They have to figure out how to play at this level and be frustrated, and still make the play,” said White. “That’s what we are trying to grow the most in.”
Guard Dayshanette Harris scored 14 points on Sunday, in addition to six rebounds and seven assists. The sophomore notices how much the team has improved, but realizes that they are yet to get over the hump.
“We are close to where we wanna be, but we’re not quite there,” said Harris.
Cold streaks allowed the Tar Heels to extend their lead to over 10 points in the second half. White called on his playmakers to make the right decisions with the ball on the offensive end and find ways to keep the offense moving.
“We get a little stagnant on offense,” said White. “That’s still the next piece of the kids being able to go play and make plays. I want players to go make plays.”
The mix of program veterans and underclassmen might have hindered the team’s flow earlier in the year, especially with their long COVID-19 related pauses, but Harris feels that the team is meshing well, despite the losses.
“We just have to stay steady and keep with it,” said Harris. “The chemistry on the court, playing with my teammates, it feels good.”
White is impressed with how focused and determined his team is after all that has been thrown at them this season. As much discipline as they’ve shown, White knows that those looking at the standings only care about the end result, and that his team needs to keep their current mentality as a result.
“Our kids have been resilient all year long, they haven’t made excuses,” said White. “No one’s going to feel sorry for us. They are just going to look at the final score.”