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Pitt Women's Basketball

Pitt Battles No. 10 Notre Dame, but Falls Just Short, 69-63



Pitt faced off against ACC rival No. 10 Notre Dame Thursday night looking to win back-to-back ACC games. Pitt kept the game close throughout, but Notre Dame used their experience and talent to win 69-63 on the road.

The Panthers (8-16 overall, 1-12 ACC) lose their fourth straight game to the Fighting Irish, (19-4 overall, 10-3 ACC) dating back to 2021, and fall to 0-16 in South Bend, Ind. This is also the Panthers’ 49th consecutive loss to a ranked team, a streak that started in March 2015.

Pitt and Notre Dame traded baskets throughout the first quarter, but Pitt senior guard Emy Hayford scored two layups to put her team up 14-13 at the end of the period.

The Fighting Irish started the second quarter on a 12-0 run and looked to run away with the game early on. The Panthers came back with a 9-0 run to cut the lead to two and managed to keep the halftime deficit at just five points, 33-28.

Pitt shot 50% from the field in the third quarter and even took the lead, 41-40, with 3:50 remaining. Notre Dame kept attacking the glass and took a one point lead, 47-46, at the end of the period.

The two teams kept it close with the Fighting Irish just up one point at 58-57 with 6:17 remaining. The Fighting Irish broke away from the Panthers, as they used solid defense to bolster a 9-2 run over five and half minutes to lead 67-59 with less than a minute to go in the game.

The Panthers failed to foul and score enough in that final minute of the fourth quarter, allowing the Fighting Irish to take the close victory.

Pitt excelled offensively in this game against a top opponent in Notre Dame. They shot 44% from the floor, best against an ACC opponent this season, and shot 35.7% from 3-point range and 14-16, 87.5% from the foul line, both second best against an ACC opponent. They also held their turnovers to just 11, which ties with then ranked No. 12 Virginia Tech on Jan. 19 for the lowest they’ve committed in a game this season.

The issue for the Panthers in this game was their inability to prevent the Fighting Irish from getting and converting second chance opportunities. The Fighting Irish used their height advantage and grabbed 18 offensive rebounds and scored 25 second chance points in their victory over the Panthers.

Pitt also didn’t create enough momentum elsewhere defensively. They made a season low five steals and only made one block, second lowest in a game this season, against Notre Dame. This allowed Notre Dame to run their offense and didn’t give Pitt enough chances to push it up the floor and score on the fast break, as Pitt only scored one point on those scant opportunities.

While the Panthers also didn’t turn the ball over much, they also didn’t create many assists, only six, which ties them for the season low with the loss to the Hokies. The 27 total rebounds for the Panthers are the third least they’ve grabbed in a game in 2022-23.

Senior guard Dayshanette Harris had a fantastic game. She scored a season high 20 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field and made seven of her eight free throw attempts. It is the fourth in the last five games she has scored in double-digits and it is her 10th career game scoring 20 or more points.

Junior forward Gabby Hutcherson scored 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting and two 3-pointers in the loss. It is only her fourth game scoring in double digits and the first since Wake Forest on Dec. 29.

Pitt continues their travel as they take on Georgia Tech on Sunday, Feb. 12 in Atlanta at 2 p.m.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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