Pitt looked to keep their perfect record intact against former Big East foe in DePaul Saturday afternoon. They failed to do so, as poor shooting doomed them in a 74-59 loss in their second game of the Fort Myers Tip-Off.
The loss for the Panthers (5-1) is the first of their season, ending their best start to a campaign since 2016-17. The win for the Blue Demons (4-2) gives them their seventh straight win in the series, dating back to 2010. It is also the second win over the Panthers since they left for the ACC starting in the 2013-14 season.
Pitt and DePaul played a close game throughout the first half. Pitt led 19-17 at the end of the first quarter and DePaul led 31-30 at the conclusion of the first half.
The Panthers got contributions from a few different players. Junior forward Gabby Hutcherson led with seven points, while sophomore forward Maliyah Johnson and senior guard Dayshanette Harris scored six points each.
The Blue Demons saw much of their offensive output come from sophomore forward Aneesah Morrow. She scored 19 of her team’s 31 points in the first half and completed eight of her 16 shots from the field.
DePaul broke away in the third quarter, using a 10-2 run to start and ending with an 9-3 run, to take a 53-42 lead. Pitt shot terribly in the third period, 4-for-18 from the field and 2-for-10 from 3-point range.
The Blue Demons continued to excel offensively, outscoring the Panthers 21-6 and breaking out to a 74-48 lead with four miners remaining in the fourth quarter.
Junior guard Kendall Holmes led the Blue Demons with 19 points on an incredible 7-for-8 shooting from the field and 5-for-6 shooting from behind the arc. Fellow junior guard Darrione Rogers also provided 15 points of her own for the Blue Demons.
Pitt ended the game on an 11-0 scoring run to make the loss worse than it looks on the scoresheet.
The Panthers shot 33.8% from the field and a poor 43.8% from the foul line against the Blue Demons, both the worst in a game this season. They committed 20 turnovers, the most in a game this season and the Blue Demons outrebounded them, 52-46, as the Panthers allowed 23 offensive rebounds.
Hutcherson finished with a team high 10 points off the bench. First-year guards in Aislin Malcom and Avery Strickland also made contributions off the bench. Malcolm made three 3-pointers while Strickland made two 3-pointers of her own and a layup.
The Pitt bench scored 37 of the 59 points in the loss and the starters need to provide more offensively if the team is going to take down tougher opponents.
Pitt finishes the Fort Myers Tip-Off on Sunday, Nov. 27 against No. 14 Maryland at 11:30 a.m.