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Pitt Women's Basketball

Pitt Suffers Worst Loss of the Season to No. 10 Notre Dame, 83-43, on Senior Day



PITTSBURGH — Pitt stood no chance against No. 10 Notre Dame on Senior Day Sunday, as they suffered their worst loss of the season, 83-43.

The Panthers (10-17 overall, 3-13 ACC) lose their second game against the Fighting Irish (22-4 overall, 13-3 ACC) this season, as they lost in South Bend, Ind., 69-63, on Feb. 9. This loss makes it five straight losses against the Fighting Irish for the Panthers since 2021 and they have only won once in 14 games against them since they both joined the ACC in the 2013-14 season.

The loss also ends a two-game winning streak for Pitt, who defeated Georgia Tech on the road on Feb. 12 and Boston College at home on Thursday, Feb. 16. It is also Pitt’s 50th consecutive loss to a ranked opponent, which started back in March 2015.

The 40-point loss is the biggest of the season for Pitt and the worst since they lost 81-39 to Louisville on Jan. 6, 2022.

Panthers head coach Lance White said that they shot much better on the road against the Fighting Irish, which they didn’t at home. He also that one of the biggest weaknesses of his team is that they don’t always have that go-to player that can make a basket when they need it.

“I hate that we didn’t play better, shoot the ball better and make some plays that really could’ve provided a great atmosphere,” White said. “Notre Dame is the tenth best team in the country for a reason. They are extremely talented, they’re big and they really can make plays. You have to match that whenever you play them and today we just didn’t match that group. I thought we got too carried away with missing shots that we then couldn’t defend and rebound and play with energy to work hard enough to get the next best shot for our basketball team.”

Both teams played it close for the first three minutes, but that was about it for a competitive game. Notre Dame finished the final six and half minutes of the first quarter on a 13-3 run, improving their advantage to 24-8.

Neither team shot the ball well in the second quarter, but the Fighting Irish made three 3-pointers to expand their lead to 40-16 at halftime. The 24-point halftime deficit for the Panthers is their largest of the season.

The second half didn’t get much better for Pitt, as Notre Dame outscored them, 43-27. Much of the points for Pitt came late on from 3-point shots and some shots in close against Notre Dame’s reserves who were just waiting for the final whistle.

Much of the Panthers struggles came offensively. They shot a poor 28.1% from the field, their second worst shooting percentage in a game this season. The Panthers also only made four of their 16 attempts from 3-point range, with their first 3-pointer not coming until the fourth quarter.

Notre Dame employed a zone that led to Pitt trying to drive to the hoop instead of finding good looks and building an offensive rhythm. Notre Dame also outscored Pitt 16-3 on second chance points and 14-6 on fastbreak opportunities. They outrebounded Pitt 48-26 and outscored them 36-16 in the paint.

Pitt had one great moment of the day, where they honored former player Jennifer Bruce during halftime,  retiring her No. 12 jersey.

Bruce played from 1981-85 and is one of the greatest players in Pitt history. She is second in points with 2,295 and first in field goals made with 896. She also played great defense, as she is third with 203 blocks, fifth with 998 rebounds and seventh with 203 steals in program history.

She is just one of two Pitt women’s basketball players to have their jersey retired. Lorri Johnson, who starred as guard for Pitt from 1987-92, has her No. 24 jersey retired as well.

“I wanna congratulate Jen Bruce,” White said postgame. “Legend, Hall of Famer and to now have that number displayed in our arena. I think for all of our players, it gives somebody the next chance to have your name and number up in the rafters. Jen deserves it. What she did on the court, unbelievable. She is such a huge advocate for what we do.”

Pitt celebrated six players on Senior Day, graduate guard Channise Lewis, seniors in guards Destiny Strother, Dayshanette Harris, Emy Hayford, forward Amber Brown and redshirt junior forward Cynthia Ezezja.

Brown played the best out of anyone on the court for the Panthers, as she scored a team-high 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the field.

She has started all 107 games since joining Pitt for the 2019-20 season. Brown is also in the top 10 in Pitt history for rebounds, with 668.

“It means a lot to have played for Pitt, coming from where I come from,” Brown said. “I kinda beat the odds. I’m just setting an example for the younger girls before me. Dedicate it to this day. That’s my major thing. Just letting young girls know they can play at the highest level.”

Pitt plays their final home game of the season against rival Syracuse on Thursday, February 23.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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