Pitt Women's Basketball
Pitt Defeats Virginia, 60-51, on 16th Annual Pink the Pete Game to end Long ACC Losing Streak
PITTSBURGH — Pitt has struggled mightily in ACC play from the end of last season and continuing on into this season. They finally put together four solid quarters to defeat Virginia at home at the Petersen Events Center Sunday afternoon, to win their first ACC game of the season.
The Panthers (8-15 overall, 1-11 ACC) end a 21 game conference losing streak that started on Jan. 30, 2022 and win their first ACC game since Clemson on the road on Jan. 27, 2022, making it the first conference win in 374 days. It is also the first ACC home win since Wake Forest on Jan. 16, 2022, ending a 10 game conference losing streak and a 10 game losing streak overall.
This is also the first win for the Panthers over the Cavaliers (14-10 overall, 3-10 ACC) since January 2017, ending a four game losing streak.
Panthers head coach Lance White spoke on how great the ACC conference is and that he gives his team great credit for their development over the season that finally resulted in the win against the Cavaliers. He also spoke on his team’s great defensive performance, especially with the execution of the zone that prevents opponents from penetrating the middle.
“Really, really excited about coming out and getting a win,” White said. “Again, the grind our players and staff have been on to battle in the ACC and be close and to get over the hump was really rewarding. Give so much credit to our team, our kids of just the resiliency, that they just show up to work and just really put themselves in position to have the reward.”
Pitt fell behind in the first six minutes of the first quarter, as Virginia earned a 9-5 advantage. Pitt finished the first quarter strong, with an 11-3 run to take a 16-12 lead at the end of the period.
Neither team shot a high percentage in the second quarter, with the Panthers shooting 28.6% and the Cavaliers shooting 18.8% from the floor. The Panthers made all four of their field goals in the quarter from 3-point range, with graduate guard Channise Lewis making two shots from behind the arc, giving themselves a 29-22 lead at halftime.
Pitt made it their fifth ACC game that they took the lead at halftime, but in all the other games, they struggled mightily in the third quarter. This led to Pitt losing that advantage and soon after, the game.
Virginia started the third quarter on a 9-2 run to tie the game at 31-31, making it appear that this trend would keep going for Pitt this season.
Senior guard Dayshanette Harris took control of the game and put on one of the best quarter performances of any Pitt player this season. Harris scored 12 of the next 16 points for Pitt in the third quarter, shooting 5-for-6 from the floor. This included a 3-pointer and an incredible converted and-one opportunity on a driving layup.
10 straight points from @_dharris1 ‼️ pic.twitter.com/COZNNi29IW
— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_WBB) February 5, 2023
Harris’ great play helped Pitt complete a 16-5 run to end the fourth quarter up 47-36 and finished with a team high 14 points in the win. Harris complimented her teammates after the game for their great play in the third quarter that extended their lead. Pitt outscored No. 16 Duke in the third quarter last time out and Harris hopes that this continues a good trend.
“I think we realized that is what we lack,” Harris said. “We’ve been trying to come up with ways to come out stronger and as you can see, these last two games we’ve done that successfully with our new lineups and our new rotations. I think that’s been a great help.”
The Cavaliers started off the fourth quarter with a press that forced turnovers from the Panthers initially, and also helped them start a 7-1 run to cut the deficit to five points.
The Panthers would eventually deal with that press, played solid defense and made enough baskets down the stretch to earn their first ACC victory on the season.
Pitt used a poor offensive outing from Virginia to propel them to victory. Virginia shot 17-for-63 , 27% from the field, both are the fourth worst by a Pitt opponent this season. Virginia also only made six of their 30 attempts from 3-point range, 20%, which is the third worst 3-point percentage by a Pitt opponent, tied with George Mason on Nov. 12.
The Cavaliers did manage to grab 23 offensive rebounds, the most by a Panthers opponent since DePaul on Nov. 26. While that usually propels a team to victory, the Cavaliers only scored 17 second chance points, missing crucial shots that led to their demise.
Junior forward Liatu King scored 10 points, grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and made a team-high four blocks in the win over the Cavaliers. She spoke on the importance of getting a win in the 16th annual Pink the Pete game, which honors those that are fighting and those that have survived breast cancer.
“Tonight is a special night for those that are battling every day,” King said. “Coach White had came in during film and he was telling us of this one lady who had treatment for 23 years and that really touched me. She was really in my mind while I was playing. When you’re a regular person, you don’t think about going to treatment, chemo, how tiring that is, radiation, having to cut your hair off. This game was definitely bigger than anybody on the court. I feel like we did those survivors a service by getting them a win. It was definitely to a honor to play.”
Pitt faces a great opponent in rival No. 9 Notre Dame on the road this Thursday, Feb. 9, as they look to pull off the improbable upset.
Where’s Molly Ringwald ……because this group…….ain’t !!!
Big win for the ladies and a great day to do it. Here is to more Ws in the future. H2P !