The Pitt Panthers women’s basketball team found itself down 16 in the first half and attempted to come back before running out of time, losing 66-62 to Buffalo on Sunday at Petersen Events Center.
Buffalo scored the opening 10 points of the game as the Panthers started 0 for 9 from the field.
“We’re a team that if we don’t start strong, then we tend to struggle,” Pitt coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. “Right now we’ve changed the starting lineup so many times and we’ll need to revamp it to try and find a combination that will get us off to a new start.”
“They came out hungry and we came out lethargic,” Brianna Kiesel said.
The Panthers progressed to cut the deficit to 34-25 at the half. Pitt made nine shots from the field in the first half, shooting 27 percent from the field.
“We’ve put our players in a position through what we run offensively to be successful, we’ve seen it,” McConnell-Serio said. “We’ve seen it in practice and some games. We became stagnant and didn’t continue to attack.”
The Pitt comeback attempt continued in the second half. McConnell-Serio switched the starting five for the half and the team initially responded. Frederique Potvin made a 3-pointer to cut the Buffalo lead to eight. On the next Buffalo possession, Marvadene “Bubbles” Anderson had a big block that turned into a basket for Ashlee Anderson. This was a part of a 9-0 Panthers run to bring the score to 40-36 Buffalo.
In what became a recurring theme though, Buffalo responded by making a 3. The Panthers cut the lead to four on several occasions, but could not do any further damage. Kiesel, who led the team with 17 points, noted this trend.
“We got into a little bit of a groove but then we would have a costly turnover,” she said. “We had to foul and then they would make free throws. We would fight down to four but it kept continuing. We have to make it easier on each other. We can’t allow a team to pick us apart like that.”
With a minute left in the game, Pitt trailed 59-55. Buffalo was able to get a wide open 3-point look with the shot clock ticking down. The shot did not fall, but Anderson did not see the rebound, leading to a Pitt foul and two more Buffalo points.
Kiesel went 2 for 4 from the line and after Potvin made a 3, the Bulls’ lead was 64-60. Buffalo missed another two free throws to keep the Panthers in the game; the Bulls went 15 for 31 from the line overall. Kiesel missed a 3 and Logan rebounded the ball, laying it in with 0.2 left. A desperation foul was too late.
“I thought we could pull it out from the beginning and even when we’re down 10,” Kiesel said. “This was a winnable game, we needed to win this game and we fell short.”
Kiesel was one of three Panthers in double figures as Asia Logan scored 13 points and Potvin had 12, her third straight game in double figures. Sloane Walton led Buffalo with 13 points and was one of five Bulls in double figures.
Pitt will wrap up its three-game homestand at 7 p.m. Wednesday against James Madison. This leaves McConnell-Serio with little time to correct the mistakes that occurred in this game.
“Right now this is the most frustrated I’ve been, in trying to find answers for this team,” McConnell-Serio said.