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Pitt Women's Basketball

Pitt Uses Explosive Fourth Quarter to Defeat Towson to Open Fort Myers Tip-Off

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Pitt fell behind for most of their match against Towson on Friday in their opening game of the Fort Myers Tip-Off. They used a great fourth quarter to edge out Towson and take the victory, 72-62, to stay perfect on the season.

The Panthers’ (5-0) victory over the Tigers (3-1) gives them a 6-0 record in the series all-time. It also makes them 5-0 for the first time since 2016-17.

Pitt struggled initially in the first quarter, falling behind to Towson 11-2 in the first four minutes of the game. They responded with a 9-2 run to end the first quarter to cut Towson’s advantage to one, with sophomore forward Maliyah Johnson scoring five points.

The Panthers continued to shoot poorly in the second quarter, shooting 5-for-18 from the floor. Most of their points came from deep as they made three of their nine 3-point attempts. The Tigers didn’t shoot much better, 7-for-19, but took a five-point lead at halftime, 29-24.

Pitt improved their offensive execution in the third quarter with 8-for-15 shooting from the field. Towson kept their five-point lead as they shot 6-for-9 from the foul line, while Pitt only had one foul shot.

The Panthers played even better in the fourth quarter, starting out on an 11-3 run to take a 53-50 lead halfway through. Four Panthers scored on the run with first-year guard Marley Washenitz leading with two layups.

Both teams traded points over the next two minutes with Pitt still leading by two points. Senior guard Dayshanette Harris and junior forward Gabby Hutcherson made back-to-back 3-pointers and Washenitz hit two free throws to put Pitt up 10 points, 68-58 with a 1:36 remaining. Towson failed to make a comeback and Pitt hit some free throws to take the victory.

Pitt shot a solid 18-for-32 from the field, 4-for-7 from 3-point range and 8-for-10 from the free throw line in the second half.

Washenitz played her most important game for the Panthers this season in the win over the Tigers, setting a career-high in every category. She scored 11 points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field, 4-for-5 free throw shooting and her first 3-pointer. She also played 17 minutes, grabbed seven rebounds and made a team-high four assists in the victory.

Harris led Pitt with 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting from the field and 2-for-3 from 3-point range. She also got five rebounds and played a team-high 28 minutes.

Johnson continues to impress offensively for the Panthers, scoring 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting. First-year guard Aislin Malcolm also played some important minutes off the bench for the Panthers. She made her three 3-point attempts for nine points, a career-high for her in 15 minutes.

Hutcherson scored seven points, but her defense played a bigger part in the win for Pitt. She blocked a team-high four shots and tied Johnson to lead Pitt with two steals each. She also led Pitt with a plus 18 when she played in the game. This means that Pitt outscored Towson by 18 points when she was on the floor.

The Panthers 7-for-16, 43.8%, 3-point shooting is the best of any game this season. Also, their 11-for-15 free throw shooting is also the best in a game where they shot 15 or more attempts from the line.

Pitt takes on former Big East foe DePaul in the next match of the Fort Myers Tip-Off on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 2 p.m., looking to keep their record intact.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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