Pitt sports gobble up wins over Thanksgiving break


Thomas J. Yang

Redshirt sophomore Stephanie Williams led the Panthers with 15 kills in their match against Virginia. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Senior Staff Photographer)

Pitt sports had a lot to be thankful for over the holiday break. Aside from turkey and stuffing, teams saw historic wins and conference championship titles on the menu.

While the Pitt men’s basketball team had uneven results on the court, football, volleyball and women’s basketball brought in a bountiful harvest with major successes.


The Pitt women’s volleyball team shut out two ACC foes over the weekend, extending their win streak to nine games and earning them a share of the ACC title — the first in program history.

Pitt (25-6 overall, 18-2 ACC) traveled to Blacksburg, Virginia, on Friday to take on Virginia Tech (10-21 overall, 4-16 ACC) for its first test of the weekend. The Panthers swept the Hokies in three games, winning by margins of 25-22, 26-24 and 27-25.

Sophomore Nika Markovic paced the Panther attack with 20 kills, while first-year Kayla Lund and redshirt junior Angela Seman led the defensive effort with 12 and 11 digs, respectively.

The team traveled to Charlottesville for its final match of the regular season versus Virginia (7-24 overall, 3-17 ACC) Saturday. The Panthers ended the season in dominant fashion, sweeping Virginia 25-21, 25-18, 25-19 to earn their fourth straight shutout. Redshirt sophomore Stephanie Williams led the way with 15 kills.

Pitt finished the season tied as ACC champions with Louisville, who also finished 18-2 in the conference. They also qualified for the 2017 NCAA tournament.

Their first match of the postseason will take place Friday, Dec. 1 as they take on Virginia Commonwealth University in a 5 p.m. matchup in State College, Pennsylvania.


Playing the spoiler role for a second straight season, the Panthers pulled off their biggest upset win of the year, conquering the previously undefeated No. 2 Miami Hurricanes 24-14 at Heinz Field.

Marking its second straight year with a late-season victory against a top-three team, Pitt football (5-7 overall, 3-5 ACC) shut down the Hurricanes’ (10-1 overall, 7-1 ACC) offense en route to Friday’s win.

The Panther defense kept the Hurricane offense off-balance the entire game, and in his first start this season, first-year quarterback Kenny Pickett played well against a top defense — throwing for a touchdown and rushing for two more.

Read full recap here.

First-year forward Shamiel Stevenson led the Panthers by scoring 16 points during the team’s 73-67 loss to Oklahoma State Tuesday. (Photo by Anna Bongardino | Assistant Visual Editor)

Men’s Basketball

Entering the break, the Pitt men’s basketball was looking to shake off a losing stint. The pair of matchups started off bleak for the Panthers, though.

The squad lost 73-67 to Oklahoma State (4-1) at the Legends Classic at Barclays Center in a consolation game Tuesday.

The Panthers stayed close to the Cowboys until the final buzzer. First-year forward Shamiel Stevenson lead Pitt in scoring with 16 points as first-year guard Marcus Carr recorded a season-high 10 assists.

Pitt traveled home to the Petersen Events Center Saturday, and found their footing after their loss to OSU with a 80-68 victory over Lehigh (3-3).

The Panthers and Mountain Hawks traded baskets for the majority of the game. Pitt relied on the late-game free throw shooting of senior forward Ryan Luther and senior guard Jonathan Milligan to seal the victory.

The Panthers (2-4) will stay in Pittsburgh to take on High Point (2-3) at the Petersen Events Center Tuesday evening, with tipoff at 7 p.m.

Women’s Basketball

The Pitt women’s basketball team started Thanksgiving break on a high note last Tuesday with a 66-46 win over Cincinnati (4-2) at Saint Ursula Academy Gymnasium & Convocation Center.

The Panthers played an explosive second quarter in which they outscored the Bearcats, 25-6, to break the game wide open. Redshirt junior forward Yacine Diop poured in 17 points to lead Pitt in scoring.

Pitt carried its momentum home on Saturday in an 87-47 blowout of Arkansas State (2-3) at the Petersen Events Center.

The Panthers never trailed the Red Wolves over the course of the game. Diop again led Pitt in scoring, dumping in 16 points.

The Panthers (5-1) will stay in Pittsburgh for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge when they take on Wisconsin (3-3) this Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Redshirt junior forward Yacine Diop led Pitt with 17 points in the team’s 66-46 win over Cincinnati. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Senior Staff Photographer)