Created on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 03:25 Written by Dave Uhrmacher / Staff Writer
A key first-half scoring run led by junior Marquel Davis’ nine consecutive points changed the game for the Pitt women’s basketball team on Tuesday night.
Davis’ contribution gave the Panthers (3-1) a nine-point halftime lead, and Pitt rode that momentum to its third straight victory, defeating Wagner 65-39 at the Petersen Events Center. With the win over the Seahawks (1-2), the Panthers improve to 44-4 all-time against Northeastern Conference opponents.
Though the final score reflected a one-sided affair, the Seahawks began the game with a 6-0 lead. Early on, Pitt had trouble scoring on offense, but as the game went on, the turnovers subsided and the baskets started falling for the Panthers.
Pitt was able to score 18 points off 14 first-half turnovers from Wagner and open up a nine-point lead at the break. The lead appeared to be only six until sophomore guard Brianna Kiesel’s 3-point basket from just inside the half-court line as time expired.
“That sparked us all,” Kiesel said of the shot. “We come out the first three minutes of the second half with a lot of defensive pressure, a real spark defensively.”
The Panthers rode that momentum throughout the second half, dominating the game’s final 20 minutes by a 34-17 margin.
After ending the first half on a run, the second half began with more of the same for Pitt, as it opened the first five minutes of play with a 13-3 scoring run. The Panthers held their largest lead of the game as the final buzzer sounded — a decisive 26-point advantage that was earned by hard work on defense and converted chances on offense.
“We played really hard. We were able to get the majority of our points through defense,” Pitt head coach Agnus Berenato said after the game. “We want to have an identity, have defensive pressure. And to be able to force 21 turnovers and get 27 points off of those turnovers was big.”
With the triumph, Coach Berenato inches another win closer to becoming the all-time winningest coach in Pitt women’s basketball history, only needing to record four more wins to surpass former coach Kirk Bruce.
Three Panthers — Kiesel, Davis and Asia Logan — all reached double figures in the contest.
Logan, Pitt’s leading scorer, continued her recent hot streak and paced the Panthers’ offensive attack, accounting for 13 of the 31 points scored in the first half. She finished with a game-high 22 points.
“My teammates and coaches just tell me to have confidence in my shot,” Logan said of her fourth consecutive double-digit effort. “They always say have confidence in your shot in practice. And they were able to find me wide open.”
Looking to stretch its winning streak to four games, Pitt will take on Ivy League-foe Brown on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.