The Pittsburgh Panthers women’s basketball team has endured a conference losing streak that was at 31 coming into this game and tonight against the Cincinnati Bearcats, they lost 59-50 to extend the streak.
“Our shooting woes have continued,” Head Coach Agnus Berenato said. “We shot 34 percent. You cannot compete with the teams when you do that.
Brianna Kiesel led the Panthers with 24 points, three shy of her career high.
“That’s what you call a stat line,” Berenato said. “That’s a hell of a game and that’s something to be complimented for.”
It was a very sloppy start for both teams. The Panthers were unable to find their stride and the Bearcats would race out to a 6-2 lead. The game was evenly matched thru the first 10 minutes although Cincinnati had an advantage in the pain and got Cora McManus in foul trouble quickly.
It was the combination of Dayeesha Hollins and Lesha Dunn that allowed the Bearcats to take a 15-10 advantage. It also helped that the Bearcats that they were able to out-rebound the Panthers during this stretch snagging rebounds, while a few Pitt players had trouble grabbing rebounds.
Down 19-10, the Panthers were able to defend and force some turnovers to get themselves back in the game. This was short lived though as a turnover resulted in Hollins heading the other way and scoring a two of her own.
The Panthers just were sustain anything for the remainder of the half and trailed 25-16 at the half.
The Bearcats shot 44% in the first half as opposed to the Panthers 28.6%.
Kiesel came ready in the second half hustling and by draining three two point shots cut the Cincinnati lead to 27-24 just over three minutes into the period.
Play would slow down after that. Tiffany Turner made a shot in the post that turned into a three point play when she was fouled by Krista Pettepier. That made the score 32-24 Bearcats.
As time continued, the Bearcats pulled away. All of the bounces were going their way. A perfect example was at the 5:25 mark in the second half, when an errant three was way off and did not hit rim. The rebound went right to Alexis Durley who made a two just beating the shot clock.
At the 4:04 mark of the second half, Kiesel made a three – the team’s first and second of the game. It was the first shot the team made since the 9:30 mark of the second half.
“We get in these lulls a lot and it’s just about getting over the hump,” Kiesel said. “We just can’t go on those lulls. Maybe a minute or two, but five minutes? It’s entirely too long and it’s when you get into a hole.
Kiesel sparked the Panthers to another run after the final media timeout making two threes. Marquel Davis would make a shot while fouled on the fast break and while she missed the free throw Kiesel split free throws and it was 51-44 Panthers.
The Panthers appeared to be back in the game but with 1:26 to play, Asia Logan in frustration was called for an intentional foul and after the two made free throws and the Bearcats retaining possession, it was too much for Pitt to overcome.
“I asked her what she was thinking and she said that she had to foul,” Berenato said. “It was an intentional foul. Her heart was quicker than her head and she reached out and tried to stop the clock. I don’t think Asia will do that again.”
The Panthers fell to 9-16 and 0-12 in the Big East. They will next play Saturday against Georgetown in the annual Pink the Petersen promotion. Fans are encouraged to wear pink.
Stat of the game: The Bearcats scored 21 points off of Panther turnovers. The advantage was +14 in their favor.
Of note: Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith was at the game supporting Marquel Davis. “He [Smith] surprised me yesterday and it is always good to see him,” Davis said. “We always support each other. He is like a big brother to me and I am really happy he made it here for a game.”