Pitt rallied in the fourth quarter, but ultimately fell to Virginia Tech, 75-65, on Thursday night at the Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va. The Panthers are now 10-8 on the season and 1-6 in conference play, while the Hokies improved to 14-4 and 6-1 in the ACC.
Led by Dayshanette Harris, who had a season-high 22 points, Pitt stormed back from a 21-point deficit midway the third quarter and made a game out of it at the end, but the Panthers dug themselves just too big of a hole. A couple of clutch shots by Virginia Tech down the stretch was all the Hokies needed to put Pitt’s comeback to a halt and secure victory.
Along with leading the Panthers with 22 points, Harris also had five rebounds and three assists. Everett was second in scoring for Pitt with 20 points. Elizabeth Kitley led the Hokies with 27 points. Kitley shot 10-of-17 from the field and was 7-of-7 from the the free-throw line. Virginia Tech had four players who scored double-digits, while Pitt’s third leading scorer, Destiny Strother, had just six points.
Pitt shot 25-of-69 from the field (36.2%) and was 6-of-14 (42.9%) from behind the arc. From the free-throw line, the Panthers were 9-of-15 (60.0%). Virginia Tech made 23-of-57 shots from the field and was 7-of-19 from behind the arc (36.8%). The Hokies made seven triples in the first half, but had none in the second. Virginia Tech was exceptional from the free-throw line, as they converted on 22 of their 25 attempts (88.0%).
Virginia Tech led 23-15 at the end of the first quarter. Cayla King led the Hokies with nine points, as she nailed three triples in the opening quarter. Overall, Virginia Tech was 5-of-9 from behind the arc.
The Hokies went on a 9-2 run to start the second quarter and went into halftime with a commanding 46-27 lead. Virginia Tech shot 13-of-29 (44.8%) from the field in the first half and made 7-of-13 three-point attempts. Pitt really struggled from the field, as they shot below 30 percent, making 10 of 36 shots (28.6%). From behind the arc, the Panthers were 2-of-5 (40.0%). Pitt shot 1-of-10 from the field at one point in the second quarter.
King led the Hokies with 11 points, while Pitt’s leading scorer in the first half was Harris with 10 points.
Virginia Tech got out to a 53-32 lead following a jumper by Georgia Amoore with 6:10 remaining in the third quarter. The 21-point advantage was the Hokies’ largest lead of the night. Eleven of the Hokies’ 15 points in the quarter came from Elizabeth Kitley. After going on a 5-1 run, Pitt went into the fourth quarter down, 61-46.
Pitt continued to build off their late third quarter momentum and went on a 5-0 run to start the fourth quarter to cut the Hokies lead to 61-51. Harris and Destiny Strother led the surge for the Panthers. Following a jumper by Harris and layup by Emy Hayford, Pitt got Virgina Tech’s lead down to six points. Kitley answered on the following possession with a jumper to put the Hokies up by eight, 63-55.
After not scoring for nearly three minutes and going 0-for-6 from the field, Jayla Everett nailed a jumper to cut the Hokies’ lead to 65-59 with 2:47 left in the game.
With 38 seconds remaining, Kitley delivered a perfect pass to Azaina Baines down low and she converted a layup to put the Hokies up 69-62. It was Baines first basket of the game. Everett answered with a three-pointer, but the Hokies made their foul shots down the stretch and pulled out a 75-65 victory. Pitt outscored Virgina Tech 19-15 in the fourth quarter.
Pitt’s next game is on Sunday, Jan. 23, against Notre Dame at the Peterson Events Center. Tipoff is at 2 p.m.