Pitt took on No. 3 Louisville Thursday night at KFC Yum! Center and were unable to execute any form of an offensive game plan, losing 81-39.
The Panthers (9-5 overall, 0-3 ACC) had consistent trouble creating any flow on offense against the Cardinals, turning the ball over 35 times and shooting 14-for-54, 25.9%, from the field. The 39 total points scored were the second lowest under head coach Lance White’s tenure, with the lowest a 34 point showing against NC State in 2019. The 35 turnovers are also the most under White, breaking the previous record by seven, 28 against West Virginia in 2018.
Pitt had a difficult time finding anything to go offensively in the first quarter, shooting 3-for-12 from the field and committing 10 turnovers. It took Pitt almost five minutes to get their first point, which was a free throw from junior guard Emy Hayford.
Louisville also had difficulty scoring points, but were able to use their defense to score eight points off Pitt’s turnovers. A last second 3-pointer from senior forward Emily Engstler gave Louisville a double-digit, 19-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Panthers continued to play poorly on the offensive end throughout the second quarter, which the Cardinals took advantage of. The Cardinals outscored the Panthers, 21-5, scoring 10 points off turnovers, and lead 40-13 at the end of the half . The 13 points were the second lowest total scored in a half during White’s reign, with a 12 point first half performance in his first game against Louisville in 2019 being the least.
Only sophomore guard Taisha Exanor was able to score from the floor in the period, making two of her three shots for four of Pitt’s five points. The team as a whole shot 2-for-9 and once again struggled to take care of the basketball, committing 14 turnovers.
The Panthers’ turnovers weren’t due to any elaborate defensive scheme that the Cardinals drew up. The Panthers made many ridiculous mistakes throughout the game, including bad passes, rushed plays and a total lack of ball control. Because of these turnovers, the Panthers had no chance to build any rhythm and their poor shooting throughout made the game an even bigger blowout.
The second half was much of the same for Pitt, with bad shooting and more unnecessary turnovers, as Pitt shot 9-for-33 from the field, 27.3%, and committed 11 turnovers.
25 of the 35 turnovers with committed by three Panthers, junior guard Dayshanette Harris with nine and junior forward Amber Brown and Exanor with eight each.
The 81 points scored by Lousiville were a collective effort, with no player above 12 points and five players in double-figures.
Cardinals sophomore guard Hailey Van Lith and Engstler lead the Cardinals with 12 points. Engstler also led the Cardinals in steals with seven, a career high, and right behind her was graduate guard Chelsie Hall with five, a season-high and tying her career high as well.
Pitt’s grueling ACC schedule will continue next week with a matchup against No. 17 Georgia Tech on Tuesday, January 11, 7 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.