In a rematch between two teams that played a 57-55 contest January 29th, the Pittsburgh Panthers women’s basketball team lost their 35th straight conference game, this time to the DePaul Blue Demons by an 81-73 score.
“Tough game, DePaul’s a good team; an NCAA bound team,” Head Coach Agnus Berenato said. “Rebounds hurt us. I thought we did a really good job taking care of the ball, shot a little better today but wish we shot better at the free throw line.”
The game was close the entire way and at the half DePaul led 36-29. They outshot the Panthers 42.1% to 38.2%. They took advantage in the paint 20-10 and in fastbreak points 11-4. The main beneficiary was Anna Martin who in her second game back from injury had eight points in the opening 20 minutes. Teammate Jasmine Penny also scored eight points for the Blue Demons.
The Panthers were led by Kiesel and Logan who combined had 17 Panthers points in the opening half. The two Panthers offensive leaders all season continued to lead by example and tried their best to keep the team morale up.
In the second half, the Panthers scored two quick baskets to cut the lead, however Brittany Krynko, the Blue Demons leading scorer this season hit her second three of the game to give them a comfortable lead. This became the theme of the half.
“With them, it’s always going to be a game of runs,” Brianna Kiesel said. “Our defense was good for the most part we just got caught up a couple of times.”
The Panthers had other comeback attempts, which included a Kiesel three point shot that made the score 62-56. Hyrnko put the Panthers away when she made a three to make the score 71-61 in DePaul’s favor and then hustled on the other end of the floor to get a steal.
Another big factor for DePaul was senior Katherine Harry. Her 18 rebounds gave extra possessions to her team which helped them get 40 points in the paint. She would finish with a double-double as she had 12 points to go with her 18 rebounds.
Kiesel really picked up her game in the second half, leading her team with a career high 28 points. Berenato’s ‘coach on the court’ felt it from three and embraced contact converting a three point play as well.
“I thought Bri really attacked today,” Berenato said. “At one point I thought she was being passive and she was trying to be unselfish like she always is and pass the ball to everyone else so they could get a basket, but I said, `Bri, you need to score.’ She had 28 points and her stat line is terrific.”
Not to be outdone, Logan had her seventh double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
As the game draw to its conclusion, the Panthers continued to battle but DePaul made free throws and time was not on Pitt’s side. The Panthers fall to 9-19 on the season and 0-15 in the Big East.
The Panthers will conclude conference play Monday at Rutgers, a game set to begin at 7:30.
“We just need to go out there and play hard. Hopefully this game we leave it all out on the court,” Kiesel said.
Following the end of the regular season is the Big East Tournament. That will be held March 8th-12th in Hartford, Connecticut.
Of note: This game was the last home game for Abby Dowd who had her Senior Day today. She was in the starting lineup along with Logan, Kiesel, Krista Pettepier and Marquel Davis.
“She’s a junior that’s graduating with two degrees and a certificate,” Berenato said. “She’s a brilliant, brilliant kid and a great kid, too. She was a starter for us the entire year last year, but she suffers from horrific ankles, which is why you haven’t seen her play much this year. It’s been a tough, tough break for her and we really missed her shooting and her communication on the court.”
Thus far in her Panthers career, Dowd has played in 54 games and going into this game had 3.3 points per game and 2 rebounds a game.
Also, the Panthers committed nine turnovers on the game as opposed to 13 assists. The nine turnovers tie a season low. The team also shot 40.5% from the field, the first time they have shot over 40% in 10 games.