Ugly first half dooms Pitt in 70-42 loss to No. 4 Louisville


Bader Abdulmajeed | Staff Photographer

Senior forward Kauai Bradley scored 11 of Pitt’s 42 points during Pitt’s 42-70 loss at Louisville on Sunday.

By Dominic Campbell, Staff Writer

In a tough game against another great ACC opponent for the Pitt women’s basketball team, the Panthers were overpowered and outmatched by No. 4 Louisville, 70-42, at the KFC Yum! Center Sunday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky.

The loss drops Pitt to 0-9 vs. the Cardinals (19-1 overall, 7-1 ACC) in ACC play, and is the 13th consecutive loss dating back to 2010, when both teams were in the Big East conference. The loss also brings the Panthers to 9-12 overall and 0-7 in ACC play this season, tying them for last place with Virginia Tech, and it is their 13th consecutive ACC game and sixth consecutive ACC road loss dating back to last year.

The first quarter started slow for both teams, with Louisville leading only 8-4 by the first media timeout with 4:30 remaining. Senior forward Danielle Garven started the scoring with a layup and made two free throws for the Panthers.

Louisville then exploded on offense and ended the quarter on a 15-2 run to lead 23-6. Junior forward Kylee Shook led the run with six points off the bench for the Cardinals, and sophomore guard Dana Evans chipped in two free throws and a 3-pointer. The only Pitt player to score was sophomore guard Kyla Nelson, who converted both of her free throw attempts.

The second quarter saw Louisville continue its run and expand the lead to take complete control of the game. The Cardinals scored the first 16 points of the quarter, and it wasn’t until senior forward Kauai Bradley hit a 3-pointer with 3:36 left that Pitt got on the scoreboard. Redshirt senior guard Arica Carter led the way with two 3-pointers, with redshirt freshman guard Lindsey Duvall and Evans also hitting from deep. Shook provided two more layups to bring her total up to 10 points.

The Panthers got one more basket in the half thanks to another Bradley 3-pointer, making the score 41-12 at halftime. They shot an incredibly poor 3-21, or 14 percent, from the field in the first half, including 2-10 from 3-point range. Louisville, meanwhile, shot 13-33 from the field and 6-16 from 3-point range. The Cardinals also excelled at the free throw line, knocking down nine of 12 attempts.

Pitt had a much more respectable second half as they managed to outscore Louisville 30-29, holding the Cardinals to their lowest-scoring half of the season.

The Panthers started out well in the third quarter, going on a 10-3 run to bring the game back from a complete blowout. Bradley converted an and-one opportunity, and sophomore center Cara Judkins made a foul shot and a layup in the paint. The Cardinals could only get a free throw from first-year guard Mykasa Robinson and a jumper from junior forward Bionca Dunham.

Louisville finished the third stronger than Pitt did, getting 3-pointers from Evans and Duvall and a layup by way of first-year guard Seygan Robins. The Panthers generated some offense when Bradley and sophomore forward Jaala Henry each made layups and first-year guard Jahsyni Knight made a foul shot.

The fourth quarter saw another early Panther run as they scored 10 of the first 12 points. Nelson started the run with a 3-pointer, then the Panthers got two consecutive baskets off steals turned fast-break layups. A free throw from Henry and a layup by Nelson finished the run, and the only Louisville basket during this time was from a jumper from senior forward Sam Fuehring down low.

The Cardinals finished the game on a 13-5 run, making sure to dispel any chance of Pitt keeping a close final scoreline. Robins was important in the run, leading the Cardinals with a 3-pointer and a layup. Nelson, who led Pitt with 12 points, knocked down a 3-pointer, and first-year guard Ismini Prapa made a jumper as well.

The second half was an improvement by the Panthers as they shot 12-32, or 37.5 percent, from the field, but they struggled from the 3-point line with 2-11 shooting from there, as well as 4-9 shooting at the foul line.

Pitt’s primary guards, junior guard Jasmine Whitney and senior guard Cassidy Walsh, shot a combined 0-9 from the field and scored no points.

Pitt will return home and look to finally break its losing streak Thursday against fellow ACC bottom-dweller Virginia Tech at 7 p.m.