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Pitt Women's Basketball

Pitt Loses ACC Opener Against Louisville, 77-53

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PITTSBURGH — Pitt has not had much success in the ACC since joining in the 2013-14 season with a 30-117 record.

This continued to be true as they started their ACC schedule with a 77-53 loss to Louisville on Sunday at the Petersen Events Center.

The loss for the Panthers (6-5 overall, 0-1 ACC) makes it the 10th straight season with an loss in their first ACC Game. The defeat against the Cardinals (9-4 overall, 1-0 ACC) is also the 20th straight in the series, with the last win coming in 2010. This makes the all-time series 24-2 in favor to the Cardinals and gives them a perfect 16-0 record since they joined the ACC for the 2014-15 season.

This is also the second straight loss and the fifth loss in the last six games for the Panthers, who started this season 5-0.

“Welcome to ACC play,” Panthers head coach Lance White said after the blowout. “I thought Louisville came out and hit us in our mouth and we didn’t respond very well for a long time. You look at those first five minutes, if you would’ve made some of those layups, made some free throws, I think we would’ve had a chance to have a different outcome. But once you go down that many against them, you ain’t coming back.”

Louisville started out the first quarter on a 16-3 run, but Pitt managed to counter that with a 9-3 run to cut the lead to single digits, 19-12, at the end of the period.

The Panthers then struggled to score in the second quarter, shooting 3-for-13 from the field. The Cardinals outscored the Panthers, 20-7, and took a 39-19 lead at halftime.

Louisville would continue to expand their advantage in the third quarter. They shot 10-for-15 from the floor and extended their lead to 30 points at 64-34.

The Panthers managed to cut the lead down in the fourth quarter as they made nine of their 10 shots within 3-point range. Still, it didn’t change the outcome whatsoever, as they fell by more than 20 points to the Cardinals.

Pitt shot poorly from the field in their defeat to Louisville, 20-for-59 or 33.9%, their second worst shooting percentage in a game this season. They also shot 5-for-19, 26.3% from behind the arc, their fourth worst 3-point shooting in a game this season.

White lamented his team’s offensive performance after the game. He said that his team played with too much hesitancy and didn’t go after it enough against a tough team like Louisville.

“You look at the shots that we shot and you’ve got to knock them down” White said on his team’s shooting performance. “There were open players, we struggled to find the open person. I thought they were there. There’s decisions you have to make against long, athletic kids that we still struggled passing the basketball to find the open player and have the confidence to knock down shots. I thought we had great looks, just missed layups and two-on-one opportunities and you get nothing from it. You gotta go connect and convert and be tough enough to do it and we couldn’t do it. Against good teams you have to make plays and we didn’t make plays.”

Pitt also didn’t get much from their top four scores in senior guard Dayshanette Harris and forwards in senior Amber Brown, junior Liatu King and sophomore Maliyah Johnson. They combined for 3-for-15 shooting from the field and a total of 15 points. The foul line provided eight of those 15 points, with Harris making seven free throws.

White said that his best scorers shooting the way they did against Louisville will lead to more losses further into ACC play. He also noted that they need to understand how to take what they do in practice and then put it on the court for success.

“They’ve got to do it in practice every day and they’ve got to compete every day,” White said. “That squad has to gain that confidence. Part of it is understanding the basketball IQ side of it of what they’re trying to create in practice. Again, you can’t simulate what Louisville does. You have to trust the coaches and you have to be able to go out there and try to replicate it…We struggle with that piece of just how to play the game mentally before you have to go do it physically.”

For a team that prides themselves in rebounding, the Panthers allowed 41 Cardinals rebounds and only made 26 of their own, their second lowest total in a game in 2022-23.

“I thought they whipped us inside,” White said on his team’s performance in the paint on both sides of the ball. “I think they made us look silly.”

Louisville used a great performance from junior guard Hailey Van Lith in the victory, as she scored a team-high 20 points. Junior forward Olivia Cochran provided a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds for Louisville as well.

Junior guard Taisha Exanor played solid in a difficult loss for the Panthers. She scored a career-high 12 points and made six of her seven shots from the field in the loss to the Cardinals.

Exanor said that the team needs to get back on track before they continue with the rest of their conference schedule that starts in a short time.

“Just get our confidence back,” Exanor said. “Play more aggressive and just play how we usually play.”

Pitt takes on North Alabama at home in their final non-conference game on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 12 p.m.

 

 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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