Panthers lose 12th straight ACC game to Virginia, 74-57


Bader Abdulmajeed | Staff Photographer

Senior forward Danielle Garven (1) goes up for a layup during Pitt’s 74-57 loss to Virginia Thursday night.

By Dominic Campbell, Staff Writer

In a game that saw lengthy scoring stretches from both teams, the Pitt women’s basketball team found itself on the end of the bad run at the end of the fourth quarter, leading to 74-57 loss to Virginia Thursday night at the Petersen Events Center.

“This one for me hurts,” head coach Lance White said. “A team that I think, watching them on film and in person even, is a team I feel like we can really play with. And then you just don’t make enough plays that you have to in crucial situations.”

The loss ended a four-game homestand for the Panthers (9-11 overall, 0-6 ACC), during which they lost all four games. Pitt has now lost 10 straight ACC home games and 12 straight ACC total games stretching back to last season.

The first quarter was extremely sluggish for both squads, as neither could find any offensive rhythm. The Panthers shot 3-12 from the floor, including 1-4 from the 3-point line, for a collective 25 percent shooting. The Cavaliers were even worse, shooting 2-10 from the field and missing all six 3-pointers in the quarter. The saving grace for Virginia was its 5-6 shooting from the foul line, where junior Lisa Jablonowski and sophomore Brianna Tinsley were both 2-2. Pitt, on the other hand, made no foul shots in the first quarter.

Both teams struggled with turnovers in the ugly quarter, with the Panthers committing six and the Cavaliers four. Senior Danielle Garven had three of the six for Pitt and Jocelyn Willoughby, who had two steals in the quarter, also committed two of the Virginia’s four turnovers.

The scoring picked up in the second quarter, with both teams shaking off their opening slump. A 3-pointer from Virginia junior guard Dominique Toussaint and a quick layup by sophomore guard Khyasia Caldwell led to a Pitt timeout at the 9:15 mark.

Pitt and Virginia traded baskets for the next four minutes, making it an 18-14 Virginia lead with 6:06 left in the second. For the Panthers, sophomore center Cara Judkins went 2-2 from the foul line and added a layup, while senior guard Cassidy Walsh made a 3-pointer.

Virginia then went on a 10-2 run to make it a 28-16 with 2:19 remaining in the half. Caldwell made two quick layups to start the run and first-year guard Erica Martinsen hit two 3-pointers to end it. The only offensive points during the run for Pitt were from a layup by senior forward Kauai Bradley.

Judkins continued her quality quarter with four more points on two baskets in the paint to get her to 10 in the game, but the Panthers couldn’t cut into the lead enough and found themselves down 31-21 at halftime.

An offensive explosion in the third quarter saw both teams fighting for the lead. Virginia extended its advantage to 11 points thanks to a couple baskets from Willoughby and Toussaint, while Pitt kept in striking distance with a 3-pointer from Bradley and layup from Judkins.

Instead of letting the lead get out of control in the third, the Panthers made an impressive comeback to tie the game at 37 on a 11-0 run. Garven came alive during this run, scoring six points.

The Cavaliers then took control for the rest of the quarter, including a 10-2 run, to take back a 50-43 lead heading into the fourth.

Despite being down seven, Pitt had a great third quarter, shooting 10 of 14, or 71.4 percent, and 2-3 from 3-point range. The Panthers also won the rebound battle 9-7. Garven was highly efficient in the quarter, going 5-5 from the floor for 10 points, and Judkins chipped in on 3-5 shooting, scoring six points to have 16 at the end of the third.

After a close beginning to the fourth quarter, Virginia went on a 15-2 run, effectively ending any comeback from Pitt to get an ACC win. The Cavaliers made seven points from the free throw line, indicative of a stellar 87.5 percent shooting from that area. Senior forward Mone Jones and Willoughby scored four points each, Tinsley made a 3-pointer, Toussaint made an and-one opportunity and Caldwell got a layup to round out the run.

Garven scored the Panthers’ only two points during the run, leading to an insurmountable 20-point deficit. Garven and sophomore guard Kyla Nelson tacked on three points each near the end of regulation, but it did little to stop the inevitable as the final whistle blew with another conference loss.

“I thought we had a pretty good third quarter and then to let off the gas again was really disappointing,” White said. “We sent them to the free throw line … then gave up way too many points in transition defense where they got layups, things like that we can control. We weren’t disciplined enough and had enough heart to make those plays and whenever you don’t do that, you lose.”

Pitt will finally head back on the road to take on one of the best teams in the nation in No. 4 Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center Sunday, Jan. 27, at 2 p.m.