In front of a raucous crowd of 13,000 people at the Carrier Dome, the Pitt’s women’s basketball team lost to Syracuse and missed another chance to get an ACC win on the road.
The Panthers (9-11 overall, 1-6 ACC) fell to the Orange (15-5 overall, 3-4 ACC) 70-52, despite keeping the game close early. But great three-point shooting from the Orange kept the Panthers behind for most of the game.
Pitt and Syracuse started the game going back and forth, with Syracuse leading 10-9 going into the first media time-out. Sophomore guard Alayna Gribble had two layups quickly after the timeout, but the Orange took control of the game, outscoring Pitt 12-4 to end the quarter, leading 22-13.
Syracuse was fantastic from the 3-point line in the first half. They shot 8-14 from behind the arc, with sophomore guard Gabrielle Cooper shooting an impressive 4-6 in the half. Cooper ended with a team-leading 12 points in the first half. At halftime, the Orange held a 44-31 lead.
Tiana Mangakahia also excelled in the first half for the Orange, tallying eight points and five assists. Mangakahia was also active on defense, applying consistent pressure on the Panthers and grabbing four steals.
One of the bright spots in the half for the Panthers was first-year guard Pika Rodriguez, who hit two 3-pointers.
The biggest problem for the Panthers was once again turnovers. In the first half, Pitt turned it over 12 times — and Syracuse capitalized, scoring 13 points off of Pitt turnovers.
After a 9-3 run to start the third quarter, Syracuse jumped out to a 19-point lead, forcing Pitt head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio to call a timeout.
Gribble hit two threes and junior forward Kauai Bradley added five points, but could only bring the lead down to 15 at the end of the third quarter. Bradley ended the game as the highest scorer for the Panthers with 13 points, a big improvement after not scoring against Louisville Thursday.
The biggest surprise for Pitt was the absence of redshirt junior forward Yacine Diop on the offensive end. Diop, who was coming off of a career-high 26 points against No. 2 Louisville on Thursday, only scored six points against Syracuse on 3-10 shooting.
Sophomore guard Jasmine Whitney had an off game against the Orange. She had five points on 1-8 shooting and although she had seven assists, she countered that with seven turnovers.
The loss puts the Panthers on a two-game losing streak and leaves them searching for their first conference road win this season.
Pitt will face another top five team this week with No. 5 Notre Dame coming to the Petersen Events Center Thursday night Jan. 25, at 7 p.m.