Demon Deacons send Panthers packing in ACC tournament


Sara D. Davis,

Junior Kalista Walters (32) fights for a loose ball against Wake Forest’s Ona Udoh (44) in Pitt’s 72-38 loss to Wake Forest Wednesday night. (Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics)

Riding a seven-game losing streak and with one last chance to turn the season around in the ACC tournament, the Pitt women’s basketball team was blown out in Wednesday’s first round by Wake Forest, 72-38.

At the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Demon Deacons (15-16 overall, 6-11 ACC) outplayed the Panthers (10-20 overall, 2-15 ACC) in almost all categories, including rebounds, steals, points in the paint and free throws.

The Panthers got off to a typical slow start, having trouble getting anything going on offense. Pitt was down 12-4 with 4:21 to go in the first quarter, shooting 2-for-9 from the field and only seeing results from junior forward Danielle Garvin, who scored all four points.

The end of the first quarter saw Wake Forest jump out to a 19-10 lead over Pitt. The Demon Deacons were led by a duo of sophomores in the first quarter as guard Alex Sharp and forward Tyra Whitehead each tallied six points.

The two combined to shoot 5-for-7 from the field and Wake Forest shot 50 percent as a team in the first.

Pitt countered its early struggles by going on a 10-5 run to start the second quarter. Redshirt junior forward Yacine Diop started the game 1-for-4 shooting, but shot 3-for-3 and scored seven points during the second-quarter run to get the Panthers within four points with 4:45 remaining in the quarter.

But the Demon Deacons turned it around quickly. They went on an 8-2 run to end the quarter, again led by Sharp. She scored six points in the quarter and led all scorers with 12 at halftime as Wake Forest led Pitt, 32-22.

Both sophomore guard Jasmine Whitney and junior center Kalista Walters, two of Pitt’s top contributors on the season, went without a point in the first half. Whitney went 0-for-8 and had only one assist, while Walters shot 0-for-1 from the field and had only one rebound.

The third quarter saw Wake Forest completely take control of the game on both sides of the ball. Two quick buckets off of turnovers by junior forward Elisa Penna and Sharp forced Pitt head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio to call a time-out.

The time-out didn’t change the Panthers’ luck much as the Demon Deacons went on an 11-3 run to lead 47-25 with 5:00 remaining in the third. They finished the quarter on a 14-2 run, leading Pitt 57-27 at the end of the third quarter.

No one player led the team in the quarter, as eight players scored and Wake Forest shot a collective 8-for-13 from the field. The team also shot a perfect 9-for-9 from the free-throw line. The leading scorer for the Demon Deacons was senior guard Amber Campbell, who had five points.

Pitt only made two shots in the quarter, giving up eight turnovers and only getting three rebounds to Wake Forest’s two turnovers and nine rebounds. Diop, who was hot in the second quarter, shot 0-for-3 and had no impact in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter was much of the same for the Panthers, as they shot 4-for-16 overall and 1-for-9 from the 3-point range. They also shot 2-for-6 from the free throws in the quarter, which were the only free throws Pitt shot the whole game.

This game marks the end of the season for the Panthers, who finished the season 10 games below .500. The Panthers finished four games worse than last season and won two fewer games in the ACC.