On Sunday afternoon, Pitt’s women’s basketball team closed out its regular season down in Atlanta, where it fell to Georgia Tech by a score of 65-60.
After an early 9-2 start, Georgia Tech never looked back, leading wire-to-wire and eventually taking down Pitt (5-13, 3-12) in the final game before the ACC Tournament.
With seven minutes remaining, the Yellow Jackets held their largest lead of the game at 11. Pitt fought back to within three, but could not come any closer and let Georgia Tech run away with the five-point victory.
“We know what we’re capable of as soon as we get out there,” leading scorer Jayla Everett told Pittsburgh Sports Now after the game. “We know that we could already be in the lead. I feel like sometimes we overthink it. When we’re out there and down, it’s like, it’s ok. Just relax. We know what we’re capable of, so no matter what, despite who it is, we know we can give them some type of fight.”
In Pitt’s third straight game without point guard Dayshanette Harris, the Panthers once again looked to leading scorer Everett to carry the load offensively. In the first half alone, Everett scored 14 points, nearly matching her season average of 14.5. She kept up the efficient play in the second half and finished with 25 points on 8-for-15 shooting.
“This was her best all-around game that she’s played at Pitt,” head coach Lance White said of Everett after the game. “Just doing a little bit of everything from different spots on the floor, and she was so composed. She is a fiery competitor, and their whole purpose was to take her out of the game and she held her composure, kept fighting for looks, and really did a great job within that of being able to do a great job for us.”
Pitt was also without senior guard Gabbie Green, who was sidelined again due to injury. After the game, White told Pittsburgh Sports Now that he believes Green will return for the ACC tournament.
The Panthers shot 40% from the field and 30.8% from three, also receiving contributions from Sandrine Clesca and Cynthia Ezeja. Although Ezeja only scored one point, she grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds.
Georgia Tech, who will be the three seed in next week’s ACC tournament, was paced by a trio of double-digit scorers in Kierra Fletcher, Lotta-Maj Lahtinen, and Nerea Hermosa. Lahtinen led the way with 22 points, Fletcher scored 21, and Hermosa added 12. Starting forward Lorela Cubaj struggled mightily shooting the ball, going 1 for 9, but was strong on the boards, grabbing a game-high 17 rebounds.
“For this team, overall, it’s the execution piece,” White said when asked what needs to be improved on ahead of the ACC tournament. “Passing is still our biggest nemesis. Being able to make reads and know where other people are going to be. Some of that is just getting comfortable with each other and now as those freshman, as Sandrine has become our point guard, her understanding of, you know, I called one play today and she never ran it. So some of that stuff and the familiarity of how we execute that is the biggest piece. And then, again, for us it is the heart and passion. We have to play with that all the time, and whenever we do that, we give ourselves a chance to compete with anyone in our conference.”
The 12th-seeded Panthers’ next game will come on Wednesday, March 3 when they take on 13th-seeded Boston College in the ACC tournament.