PITTSBURGH – Pitt (8-3) got routed by No. 2 NC State, 89-54, on Friday night at the Petersen Events Center. It was Pitt’s first conference game of the year. NC State (9-1) shot lights out from behind the arc, as they nailed 15 three-pointers. Raina Perez and Camille Hobby led the Wolfpack with 15 points each. Perez had three triples and shot 6-of-11 from the field.
“Everybody thinks they shot so great, but that’s what they do every game,” Pitt head coach Lance White said about NC State after the game. “And you got to pick your poison. Are you going to take away their inside game or are you going to let them shoot threes? We were hoping that they would miss a couple of those threes, but obviously, they didn’t.”
It was an all-around rough night for the Panthers, as they struggled offensively, as well. Pitt was 19 of 61 (31.1%) from the field and made just five of 19 three-point attempts (26.3%). The Panthers also had just 10 offensive rebounds and overall got out-rebounded, 51-37.
“They make every shot that you shoot difficult and hard,” White said. “They’re big, athletic. They can keep you off the glass. So, it’s a hard challenge for us at this point. We’ve got a lot of stuff that we got to work on to be able to compete against top-five teams, and we’re just not there yet.”
Even though Pitt didn’t get the result they wanted, White sees value in learning from the mistakes they made against an elite team like NC State.
“It’s those small moments that good teams make their own destiny, and we’ve got to overcompensate for that,” White said. “I think this early especially really helps us going into Christmas and to know that’s as good as we’ll face all year. And now we have to learn from it. We got the film to be able to go back and learn from those mistakes that we made and be better.”
Perez made an incredible half-court shot at the end of the first quarter to put NC State up 22-10. The Wolfpack made a staggering six three-pointers in the first quarter and NC State’s efficiency from behind the arc continued in the second quarter, as they went on an 8-0 run to begin the quarter before White called a timeout. Two of NC State’s baskets were three-pointers on the run. The Wolfpack controlled the rest of the second quarter and went into halftime with a commanding 42-23 lead.
The Wolfpack shot 55.6 percent from behind the arc in the first half, as they converted 10 three-pointers. Perez made three triples and led NC State with 13 points. Jayla Everett led Pitt with 11 points and made three triples, as well. NC State shot 14-of-31 (45.2%) from the field, while Pitt was 8-of-28 (28.6%).
The Panthers’ offense continued to struggle in the third quarter, as they mustered just 10 points and went into the fourth quarter down 66-33. Just nothing was going right for Pitt. Along with shooting below 30 percent, the Panthers got dominated on the glass, getting out-rebounded 39-24 by NC State through three quarters.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Jessica Timmons and Hobby nailed back-to-back three-pointers to give the Wolfpack a 77-35 lead. NC State converted 15 three-pointers compared to Pitt’s five triples. The end result for the Panthers was a 45-point loss to the No. 2 team in the country.
Everett led Pitt with 13 points, while Destiny Strother was second with 10 points. Pitt’s next game is against Notre Dame on Sunday, Dec. 13, in South Bend, Ind. Tipoff is at 2 p.m.