Pitt Women's Basketball
Pitt Holds On to Defeat Boston College, 75-64, to Make it Back-to-Back ACC wins
PITTSBURGH — Pitt held on to their lead against Boston College throughout the entirety of the game, battling off many comeback attempts to win 75-64 Thursday night at the Petersen Events Center.
The Panthers’ (10-16 overall, 3-12 ACC) win over the Eagles (14-15 overall, 4-12 ACC) is their second straight win and makes it three wins in the past four games after starting 0-11 in ACC play. This is the first time the Panthers have won back-to-back ACC games overall and at home since January 2017. The win also ends a four game losing streak against the Eagles, as the Panthers beat them for the first time since Feb. 16, 2021.
For Panthers head coach Lance White, this victory makes it three in the ACC, tying a previous high from the 2020-21 season. White spoke on how since the Duke game on Feb. 2, the team has played resilient basketball and that his team is playing much better together, resulting in great results, compared to earlier on in the season.
“It’s a brutal process,” White said on his team’s journey to this part of the season. “It’s brutal to be really, really close…So many of those [games] that we’ve been really close. But this group is so resilient. They come to work every day and really battled through that to get us to a point now where we’re playing really good basketball. A lot of it is to their credit. They’ve never walked away from the challenge. They haven’t ran and hid. As a coach, to see it coming together at this time, is really, really rewarding.”
Pitt played great defense against Boston College in the first quarter, giving them a 15-7 lead at the end. Pitt senior guard Dayshanette Harris and junior forward Liatu King made two steals each and junior forward Gabby Hutcherson made two blocks in the period.
It also helped the Panthers that the Eagles shot terribly in the first quarter, making just three of their 16 attempts from the field. The Panthers holding the Eagles to seven points in that first period, is their best defensive performance in a single quarter against an ACC opponent this season.
Pitt started out the second quarter on a 9-0 run to increase their lead to 17 points. Boston College battled back with a 13-2 run over four minutes to cut Pitt’s advantage down to just six points. Pitt outscored Boston College 10-5 to end the first half, with a running layup by Harris to give themselves a 35-24 lead.
After both teams only made one 3-pointer combined in the first half, they started to finally make some beginning in the third quarter. The Eagles shot 5-for-9 from behind the arc, while the Panthers made three of their four attempts from 3-point range.
Boston College cut the Pitt lead down to just three points with a minute left in the third quarter. Pitt sophomore forward Maliyah Johnson responded by scoring four points off two free throws and a last-second layup, giving her team a 57-50 lead at the end of the period.
The Panthers scored seven more points to start the fourth quarter, building a 14 point advantage and forcing the Eagles to call a timeout.
Boston College responded with an 11-1 run over the next four minutes, trimming their deficit to just four points, 65-61. Pitt played great defense to end the game and outscored Boston College, 10-3, the rest of the way to earn the double-digit victory.
White gave a lot of credit to Lewis and to senior guard Emy Hayford for their work throughout the game to keep Pitt in the lead and play great defensively. He also says the strategy of platooning two different groups of five players allows for better play, especially since the Duke game.
“Before, I think we would’ve lost these games,” White said. “We get nervous and then they start coming back, but we made a couple plays. Especially on the defensive end. We got some rebounds that were huge that allowed us to go make the next play.”
Lewis played her best game of the season for the Panthers in the win. She scored a career-high 15 points against the Eagles, including 10 points in the third quarter to aid the Panthers, making two 3-pointers, two foul shots and a layup. She also made a season high six assists in the win to lead the Panthers.
Lewis also scored 11 points in the double-overtime win Sunday, Feb. 12 over Georgia Tech, which included her making a buzzer-beater 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. This makes it back-to-back games where Lewis scored in double-digits, the first time she’s done that in 2022-23.
“Starting in practice, coach said take the shots that you want to take in the game, so that’s what I’ve been doing,” Lewis said. “Once I get the ball in the game, I’m letting it fly if I’m open. I have the confidence and I’m going to keep that going into the next game.”
The Panthers shot 44.4% from the field and 43.8% from 3-point range against the Eagles, making it the best and the second best shooting percentages against an ACC opponent this season, respectively. The Panthers also moved the ball around, creating 17 assists, the third highest in an ACC game in 2022-23.
Boston College’s porous 3-point shooting, 6-for-26, benefitted the Panthers, as it was the second worst by an ACC opponent this season. Pitt also kept Boston College from getting second chances, only allowing 10 offensive rebounds in the win, the third least this season.
Pitt faced the most pressure from Boston College first-year guard Taina Mair, who scored a career-high 26 points in the loss. They held all other scorers to under 10 points, providing a stark difference to their previous matchup this season, where six Boston College players scored in double-digits.
Pitt stays at the Petersen Events Center for their next matchup against No. 10 Notre Dame on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m.
Nice to see the Women’s team win some games!