For the second consecutive season, the women’s basketball version of the City Game went Pitt’s way as it bested Duquesne 61-45 Saturday night at the Petersen Events Center.
Liatu King paced Pitt (4-0) with career high of 25 points. King’s 11 rebounds gave her a second double double on the season and third occasion with a double-digit rebounding total. Maliyah Johnson scored eight points and Amber Brown added eight rebounds.
Duquesne basketball on Pittsburgh Sports Now is sponsored by The Summit Academy: setting young men on the path to a better future.
Duquesne (3-1) saw three scorers reach double figures with both Megan McConnell and Ayanna Townsend each scoring 11 points. Townsend added 11 rebounds, good for her second double double this season. Tess Myers contributed 10 points but was held to a 3-for-14 shooting night.
As a team, Duquesne shot 26.8% from the field and was 7-for-31 from three-point range.
In the first quarter, King was Pitt’s key with six early points, while Duquesne struggled to get into a rhythm.
Taisha Exanor also made a difference in the period with her four points off the bench, which included a paint score high off the glass.
The Dukes missed their first five shots from the field and its first three points were scored at the free-throw line.
Duquesne had one two-point basket in the first quarter but got back into the game with its three-point shooting as McConnell, Amaya Hamilton and Precious Johnson buried triples. It did this when Pitt coach Lance White subbed King out of the game.
Hamilton scored all five of her points in the first quarter and kept Duquesne’s offense moving.
When King came back in, she returned to work. With Duquesne tying the game and bench showing its support, King went to work and converted a mid-range jumper.
Pitt led Duquesne 16-14 after one quarter.
King continued her start in the second quarter, finding a score off the backboard and then beat the shot clock on a second-chance opportunity.
Again, Duquesne would capitalize on King going to the bench taking the lead at the media timeout. First, Naelle Bernard put the Dukes in front for the first time with her three-point basket, and then Hamilton found Townsend cutting to the basket from the high post.
The difference in the half was a 3:36 scoreless drought from Duquesne, during which Pitt went on a 9-0 scoring run.
Duquesne was not able to get good looks and even though it got King to commit two fouls, just had difficulties finding consistent answers against a Pitt team which shot 45.2% from the field in the first half.
Of Duquesne’s 31 shots, 19 were from deep and four of those looks went in.
Pitt did have some troubling news as Dayshanette Harris went down in pain on the far side of the court in the first quarter, and after getting up with assistance went straight to the locker room.
Harris did give it another go in the second quarter, but her shot was well off target and then was in continued pain on the defensive end. She was quickly taken out and went back to the locker room.
Pitt led 31-23 at halftime, though of its 14 baskets, one was assisted.
Duquesne opened the second half with Ayanna Townsend coming down with two offensive rebounds and McConnell benefitting with a three-point basket.
Shortly after, Myers converted a trifecta of her own after missing her first seven shots from the field. This brought Duquesne to within two points.
Pitt closed the quarter on a 7-2 run with Maliyah Johnson making a three-point basket off the glass, stretching the Panthers advantage to 48-39 with 10 minutes remaining.
In the fourth quarter, Pitt extended the run to 12-4 and Duquesne called a timeout down 12 points and would not recover.
An already difficult shooting night was only further emphasized with a 15.4% effort in the final quarter. Pitt meanwhile had seven assists on 10 made second-half field goals.
Pitt will continue its non-conference slate at the Fort Myers Tip-Off against Towson, DePaul and Maryland. Duquesne will host Siena Tuesday night, with a 6 p.m. starting time.