Pitt began their season on the road in Baltimore, Md. against Coppin State. They used a strong defense to propel themselves to a, 57-41, victory.
The Panthers (1-0) win their third straight opening game of the season dating back to 2020 with the win over the Eagles (0-1). It is also the second straight year with a win over the Eagles for the Panthers and improves their record in the series to 3-1. This is the Panthers first true road win to start a season since they defeated their rival the Duquesne Dukes in 1992.
Pitt and Coppin State kept it close early on, with Pitt holding a slight 10-8 lead. They improved offensively the rest of the first quarter, as Pitt used a 10-2 run to take a 20-10 advantage over Coppin State. Junior forward Liatu King led the drive with six points on two baskets down low and two free throws.
Both teams struggled to do much of anything on offense in the second quarter, as the Panthers just outscored the Eagles, 8-5. The Panthers shot 3-for-14 from the field, 21.4%, while the Eagles only made one shot from their 12 attempts from the floor for a woeful, 8.3%.
Pitt continued to have a sizable lead over Coppin State through the early parts of the third quarter, scoring 10 points to their six points. Junior forward Gabby Hutcherson scored four points on a jumper and a layup, senior guard Dayshanette Harris made three free throws and graduate guard Channise Lewis made a 3-pointer.
The Eagles chipped away at the Panthers’ lead throughout the remaining part of the third period. Sophomore guard/forward Jewel Watkins commanded the Eagles ten points in the third quarter to cut the lead to just seven points at 40-33. The Panthers also made many sloppy plays throughout the third period, which included six turnovers.
Coppin State managed to trim the lead to just five points with 6:36 left on the clock in the fourth quarter.
Pitt used some solid defense and help from a leader in senior forward Amber Brown. She scored all of her eight points in that fourth quarter to keep her team from blowing the lead and their minds set on the victory.
Pitt also held Coppin State to 3-for-15 shooting from the field and scoreless for the final four minutes of the game.
Harris and Lewis, who made her first start for the Panthers since transferring from Maryland, led the team with 11 points each in the victory.
Hutcherson, who transferred from Ohio State over this past year, didn’t make her mark so much on offense as she did defensively. She led Pitt with eight rebounds, three steals and four blocks, a career-high for her.
Pitt shot 38.5% from the floor in the win, while keeping Coppin State at 28.5%, and grabbed more rebounds than them, 37-31. They also shot a perfect, 11-for-11, from the free throw line.
Still, the Panthers committed 16 turnovers and had three players with four fouls as well. They need to correct those mistakes as their season moves along.
Pitt returns home for their first game at the Petersen Events Center, as they face off against George Mason on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m.