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Pitt Women's Basketball

Pitt Women’s Basketball Pulls Away in 2nd Half vs George Mason, 63-45

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Image by Jared Todhunter

Despite struggles offensively for both teams in the first half, Pitt women’s basketball (2-0) pulled away for a comfortable victory over George Mason (0-3), 63-45.

Pitt didn’t fully pull away until the second half, but Pitt only trailed for 1:31 seconds in the game with all of that coming in the first quarter. The two teams also were only tied for a little over two minutes, again all in the first quarter.

The first half of this game was tough for fans for shooting, as the two teams combined to shoot 15-for-39 (25.4%) including 3-for-20 (15%) from three-point line. Just one of those three-pointers came in the second quarter, courtesy of Pitt’s Aislin Malcolm. In addition to the shooting woes, the two teams combined for 19 turnovers in the first half.

”I thought there were some moments of really good basketball,” said Pitt head coach Lance White on the entire game. “Even as poorly as we shot it, I thought we got the shots we needed to.”

Pitt, George Mason, Women’s Basketball, Gabby Hutcherson

The first quarter saw significant shooting troubles from both teams as neither failed to find a rhythm and control the tempo of the game. The two teams were a combined 7-for-27 (25.9%) shooting in the first quarter, with almost half of those baskets coming from Pitt’s Amber Brown. She was 3-of-3 in the quarter as well as making an and-one free throw, giving her seven total points. In the game, she finished 6-of-9 shooting and led the team with 15 points.

“I don’t really try to do too much offensively,” said Brown, “but if I get going on the defensive end, I try to just take what the defense gives me… just being patient when I catch it and turning around and seeing what I got.”

In the second quarter, Pitt used a 11-0 run to jump ahead by 12-points at 26-14. During this run, Pitt held George Mason to 0-6 shooting and a scoring drought that lasted five minutes. Furthermore they had a strong advantage from the foul line. Pitt was fouled six times in just the second quarter and made 7-of-8 (87.5%) from the foul line with many of those coming during their 11-0 run. They ended the half on a 12-2 run in the last five minutes.

Pitt was also buoyed in the first half by a strong defensive performance from Liatu King, who had four blocks, eight rebounds and two steals in the first half alone.

“I was just down on the hillside, you know?” said King. “My goal is to stop them from scoring, if I see my teammate getting beat, I’m going to be there. I’m just lucky enough to be able to time the ball and block it.”

As a team they generated 11 turnovers in the first half with nine of them coming off of steals. They also led in the rebound department 27-20. Unfortunately for Pitt, many of these turnovers did not result in points with just five points off of turnovers.

Pitt, George Mason, Women’s Basketball, Dayshanette Harris

Pitt found a rhythm to start the second half as they connected on their first four shots to extend their led to 18-points at 38-20. This led to George Mason to call a timeout and switch to a full-court press on defense. The adjustments worked, as George Mason chipped away at Pitt’s lead by going on a 7-0 run highlighted by a pair of three-pointers. In the first four minutes of the second half, the two teams connected on more three-pointers (4-for-5, 80%) than they had in the entirety of the first half (3-for-20, 15%).

George Mason’s adjustments continued to be successful for the team at the end of the third quarter. In the last four minutes, George Mason went on a 8-2 scoring run and forced four Pitt turnovers. They had the lead cut down to just eight-points (43-35) at one point, but ultimately went into the fourth quarter down double-digits 45-35.

In the fourth quarter, Pitt bent but didn’t break. George Mason was able to get the lead within single digits a second time, but ultimately couldn’t get the score closer than eight points. After the lead was cut to eight for the final time, 47-39 with 6:54 left in the game, Pitt outscored George Mason 16-6 to win the game with the final score 63-45.

Pitt Mascot

Pitt’s next game will be against Bryant (2-0) this Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. in Pittsburgh before hosting Duquesne (2-0) in the annual “City Game” for women’s basketball on Saturday. Bryant is coming off a nearly 100-point victory as they defeated D-III Emerson College 111-27.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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