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Pitt Women's Basketball

Pitt falls to Virginia, 74-65

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Taylor Valladay’s career-high 30 point performance led Virginia to a 74-65 victory over Pitt on Sunday afternoon at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va. It was Virginia’s second conference win of the season and fifth overall. The Panthers continue to struggle in the ACC, as they have dropped their last seven games. Pitt is 11-16 on the season and 2-14 in conference play.

Pitt senior guard Jayla Everett was dismissed from the team on Sunday, according to a report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Craig Meyer. Everett is the Panthers’ lead scorer. The reason for Everett’s dismissal is unknown as of right now. Coupled with the seven-game losing streak and Everett no longer on the team, it’s just been a rough season all around for Lance White and the Panthers.

Pitt made 23-of-61 (37.7%) shots from the field and were 8-of-24 (33.3%) from behind the arc. Dayshanette Harris had 16 points and made three triples. Destiny Strother, who came off the bench, tied Harris with 16 points to lead the Panthers. Strother also had three triples. Liatu King had 10 points and led the Panthers in rebounds with 12.

Along with 30 points, Valladay also had seven assists and three rebounds for Virginia. Mir McLean was second in scoring for the Cavaliers with 16 points. Virginia shot 22-of-43 (51.2%) from the field and were 4-of-8 (50%) on three-point attempts. Virginia also got to the foul line 34 times and made 26 shots (76.5%). The Panthers were efficient from the foul line as well, as they made 11-of-15 free-throws (73.3%).

Virginia led 18-8 at the end of the first quarter. The Panthers shot 18.2% from the field and turned the ball over seven times in the opening quarter. The Cavaliers scored 11 points off the turnovers. Prior to back-to-back three-pointers by Strother, the Panthers were 1-of-8 from the field. McLean led Virginia with eight points in the first quarter.

After Pitt battled back to cut Virginia’s lead to 24-20, Amandine Toi and McKenna Dale nailed back-to-back three-pointers to put the Cavaliers up 30-20 with 2:37 remaining in the second quarter. The Panthers answered with two three-pointers of their own from Harris and Tracey Hueston to make it a 4-point game at 32-28. Virginia closed out the second quarter on a 4-0 run and went into halftime with a 36-28 lead.

The Panthers made 10-of-25 (40.0%) shots from the field and were 4-of-12 (33.3%) from behind the arc in the first half. Strother and King led Pitt with six points each. Virginia converted 12-of-23 (52.2%) shots from the field and were 2-of-5 on three-point attempts (40.0%). McLean was Virginia’s leading scorer with 10 points.

Both teams shot well from the free-throw line in the first half, as Pitt was 4-of-5 (80.0%) and Virginia was 10-of-12 (83.3%). Pitt scored 10 points in the paint in the second quarter after having none in the first.

Harris converted back-to-back triples to make it a one-possession game at 41-38 with 6:21 left in the third quarter. Hueston then nailed a three-pointer to tie the game at 41-41. It was Hueston’s second triple of the game. Before Sunday’s game, Hueston had no three-pointers on the season. Pitt took their first lead of the game a few minutes later at 44-43 after a jumper and free-throw by Harris. Pitt and Virginia went back and forth for the rest of the quarter and Virginia led 54-53 going into the fourth quarter. Valladay scored 13 points for the Cavaliers in the third quarter. The Panthers scored 25 points in the third quarter, which was a season-high.

At the 6:09 mark in the fourth quarter, Valladay drained a three-pointer to give Virginia a 63-54 advantage. The Cavaliers went on a 7-0 run in the begging of the fourth quarter. The Panthers just couldn’t contain Valladay, as she drove to the basket and converted a layup to give Virginia a 68-60 lead with 2:36 remaining. It was Valladay’s 28th point of the game. Pitt got into too deep of a hole and Virginia pulled away with a 74-65 victory.

Pitt’s next game is on Thursday, Feb. 24, against No. 3 Louisville at the Peterson Events Center. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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