PITTSBURGH — In their first ACC game of the season that was not against a ranked opponent, Pitt still was looking to get a win over a still-formidable Boston College team on Thursday night. Despite not being as high-caliber as their previous conference opponents, Boston College was able to frustrate Pitt offensively and won 75-64 at the Petersen Events Center.
The loss for the Panthers (9-7 overall, 0-5 ACC) saw similar problems to those they have faced so far in their conference schedule, bad turnovers, poor 3-point shooting, lack of communication, all resulting in poor offensive production. Their loss against the Eagles (12-4 overall, 3-2 ACC) puts the Panthers at a 0-5 start to the season in conference play, which has happened for the third time in the last four years under head coach Lance White’s tenure.
“Really disappointed, just in our ability to compete for long periods of time,” White said about his team’s performance. “I thought we had weathered the storm a little bit in that first quarter and then second quarter I just thought we hit a lull and just couldn’t bounce back from that. I think it’s pressure. I think we are still trying to find under pressure can we still make plays and do the things that it takes to win in the ACC.”
The Panthers started out with good zone defense that forced the Eagles into bad shots, shooting 1-for-9 in the first seven minutes of the first quarter. Junior center Rita Igbokwe and senior guard Jayla Everett each scored two baskets to help the Panthers take a 10-6 lead.
Boston College quickly turned things around towards the end of the period, going on a 15-6 run to take a 21-16 lead. Nine points came from three 3-pointers, as Boston College was able to stretch the floor and find some good looks, while sophomore guard Kaylah Ivey scored four points to lead the run.
“Like coach [White] says it’s a game of runs,” junior guard Dayshanette Harris said on the impact of the second quarter run by Boston College. “So I can’t really pinpoint when it changed, but I know that I can pinpoint when we weren’t playing our basketball and we weren’t playing our basketball the whole game.”
The offensive struggles that have plagued the Panthers these past few ACC games came about in the second quarter, as they failed to make a field goal until 2:49 left in the period, and shot 2-for-9 overall. They were able to get to the foul line, but were not effective, only making five out of 10 free throw attempts.
Boston College was able to take advantage of Pitt’s offensive woes and start the second quarter on a 12-3 run, continuing their good offensive form from the end of the first quarter. A last second 3-pointer from senior guard Cameron Swartz gave Boston College a 38-25 lead into halftime.
The Panthers looked to get back on track offensively to start the third quarter, as they got a layup from first-year guard Maliyah Johnson and their first 3-pointer in the game from Harris to cut the lead to single digits.
The Eagles quickly made sure that would not be the case, going on a 10-2 run to take a 48-32 lead with 5:26 left in the period, thanks to two jumpers and a layup from Swartz and two layups from first-year forward/center Maria Gakdeng.
Boston College would continue to hold a decent lead over Pitt throughout the rest of the game, even getting a lead as high as 21 in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers did manage to cut the lead down to 11 late in the game, ending on an 11-1 run to make the final score, 75-64, with junior forward Amber Brown scoring six points to lead her team.
The loss to Boston College comes off another loss at home against Georgia Tech on Tuesday for Pitt. Igbokwe, who led Pitt with five blocks, was adamant that the loss wasn’t due to fatigue from playing two days earlier, but was caused by self-inflicted mistakes.
“Today was just a game of mistakes,” Igbokwe said. “Like, we can’t let our fatigue just be a deciding factor whether or not we win a game. Because we just have to keep going, keep going, keep going. We can’t be able to decide on how we win a game based on how our bodies feel we have to push past that. Just like the coaches said, we have to push past pain, we have to push past fatigue. So I don’t think it was a matter of like, whether or not we’re tired. We just have to do what we have to do.
Pitt will finish their three game homestand on Sunday, January 16 at 2 p.m. with a matchup against Wake Forest.