After a promising start to the season, the Pitt women’s basketball team wrapped up its nonconference schedule in disappointing fashion in the City Game Thursday night.
The Panthers (9-4) suffered a 63-54 loss to the cross-town rival Duquesne Dukes (7-7) at the A.J. Palumbo Center, giving Duquesne a City Game season sweep along with the men’s team’s 64-55 win over Pitt Dec. 2. The Panthers still hold a 20-15 lead in the all-time series against the Dukes, but Thursday’s game marked the third win in a row for Duquesne in the rivalry.
“It was a disappointing performance for us, offensively,” Pitt head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said in a press release. “We had every good look at the basket. We had wide-open threes, we had wide-open layups, we had jumpers. For whatever reason we just struggled to score the basketball and it becomes contagious.”
The Panthers have typically gotten off to fast starts so far this season, but instead dug themselves a big hole early on Thursday.
Dukes guard Julijana Vojinovic started the scoring with a 3-pointer, then Pitt sophomore forward Brenna Wise answered with a three. A layup and another three by Vojinovic gave Duquesne a 10-5 lead, then two more 3-pointers by the Dukes made it 16-5 midway through the first quarter.
The Panthers responded with a 15-3 run to take their first lead at 20-19 midway through the second. But Vojinovic drained a jumper in the paint to reclaim the lead for Duquesne, and the Dukes never relinquished the advantage the rest of the way. An 11-2 run to close out the first half gave Duquesne a 30-22 lead at the break.
The Dukes stretched their lead to 12 early in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by guard/forward Brianna Thomas, and the gap remained in double digits through most of the quarter.
Then, with Pitt trailing 44-31, point guard Jasmine Whitney went on an 8-0 run all by herself to bring the Panthers back into the game. Whitney tallied a jumper, a layup and two free throws in a span of 25 seconds, then added another jumper to make it 44-39 with 2:24 left in the third quarter.
The teams traded a pair of buckets, and Duquesne took a 48-43 lead into the final quarter.
A pair of free throws by Wise cut the deficit to three early in the fourth quarter, but Vojinovic and sophomore guard Chassidy Omogrosso hit a pair of threes to stretch the Dukes’ lead back to nine. A layup by Omogrosso made it 56-45 with just under eight minutes to play.
Pitt cut the lead to 10 with 4:30 left in the game, but the Panthers then went more than three minutes without a point. Pitt sophomore forward Kalista Walters made a layup to end the drought with 13 seconds left, but Duquesne already had the game in hand.
Vojinovic led all scorers with 19 points in the 63-54 win, while graduate transfer center Brandi Harvey-Carr led the Panthers with 14 points and seven rebounds.
“We’re just trying to get back into a rhythm,” McConnell-Serio said in the release. “We played without Jasmine Whitney for a week prior to Christmas break — she missed an entire week of practice — so her coming back in these last two practices, leading up to today, we were just trying to find a little rhythm and obviously that takes time when you don’t have your starting point guard.”
After concluding their nonconference schedule at 9-4, the Panthers will open up ACC play against the Miami Hurricanes at the Petersen Events Center Monday, Dec. 2. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.