Women’s basketball downs Demon Deacons, 70-64


Kaycee Orwig | Staff Photographer

Senior forward Danielle Garven (1) led Pitt’s offense with 21 points during Thursday evening’s 70-64 victory over Wake Forest.

By Dominic Campbell, Staff Writer

In a game of ACC basement dwellers, the Pitt women’s basketball team put on one of its best performances of the season to beat Wake Forest 70-64 on the road, giving the Panthers their second ACC win in 15 tries.

It was also the Panthers’ (11-18 overall, 2-13 ACC) first road win since Feb. 1, 2018, when they beat Clemson 58-42, which ends a 10-game ACC road losing streak. The win also ties last year’s ACC win total and gives Pitt 11 wins on the season — beating last season’s total of ten. The Panthers’ four-game losing streak against Wake Forest (10-18 overall, 1-14 ACC) is now over, and the tie-breaking victory ensures they don’t finish in last place.

The first quarter started close, as Pitt held a slim 6-5 lead with 6:19 left. Sophomores Kyla Nelson and center Cara Judkins, as well as senior forward Kauai Bradley, made layups for the Panthers while sophomore forwards Maya Banks and Ivana Raca converted a second-chance layup and a 3-pointer, respectively, for the home team.

But it soon changed in the Demon Deacons’ favor as they went on a 13-2 run. Raca continued to make a big impact for Wake Forest, scoring eight consecutive points which included two jumpers and a 3-pointer. Junior Alex Sharp and sophomore Gina Conti made two free throws each and junior Ona Udoh scored a layup to cap the run. A mid-range jumper by junior Jasmine Whitney was the only basket in this time for the Panthers.

The quarter ended with Wake Forest on top 20-12. Both teams shot about equally in the first quarter with the Demon Deacons going 7-15 and the Panthers 6-13 from the field.

The second quarter saw Pitt quickly jump out on an 11-2 run to take a 23-22 lead with 5:37 remaining. Danielle Garven scored four points on a jumper and a layup on the fast break, senior guard Cassidy Walsh and Judkins also made layups and Nelson made a 3-pointer, while all Wake Forest could muster was a layup from Raca.

The rest of the quarter was more back-and-forth, with the Demon Deacons taking a small lead into the second half, 34-33. Conti led for Wake Forest, making three free throws and converting an and-one opportunity off a layup for six points. Other contributors were Sharp and Raca, who both made jumpers, and first-year forward Lindsey Jarosinski, who made two foul shots.

Garven kept producing, making two more layups to get her up to 10 points in the game. Whitney made another jumper, Judkins made a free throw and first-year guard Ismini Prapa converted from 3-point range.

Pitt started well again in the third quarter, notching a quick 7-2 run to gain a 40-36 lead with 6:53 left. Garven scored three points on a free throw and a layup, Nelson made a free throw and Whitney hit a 3-pointer.

But the Demon Deacons responded with an 11-3 run of their own. They scored nine consecutive points after a Garven jumper and a Whitney free throw, with Raca scoring six points on two foul shots and two layups and Conti making an and-one off a layup.

In the last minute of the third quarter, Pitt managed to go on an 8-0 run to take a 51-47 lead into the fourth. Whitney was crucial for the Panthers as she made a 3-pointer and converted an and-one opportunity to get her up to 16 points in the game, while Walsh made two free throws.

Both teams shot poorly in the third quarter, with Wake Forest going 4-15 and Pitt 5-16 from the field.

Both teams scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, with the Panthers holding steady in their lead to secure the win.

Garven led Pitt once again with six points in the quarter off of two layups and a jumper. She finished with 21 points, making this her sixth straight game as the Panthers’ leading scorer.

Judkins chipped in four points off two layups from Demon Deacons’ turnovers, Walsh and Nelson hit from 3-point range and Whitney made three free throws. Whitney had a great overall game as well, scoring 19 and dishing out a career-high 12 assists in 36 minutes of play.

Conti did all she could to keep Wake Forest in the game, draining three 3-pointers to tie her with Raca for 20 points as top scorer. Banks, Jarosinski and Sharp all made layups and first-year Ellen Hahne scored a jumper to round out the scoring for the Demon Deacons.

For all their efforts, the Demon Deacons just couldn’t close the gap down the stretch. Pitt remained unfazed and led by at least six points throughout the final quarter.

Next, Pitt will look to pull off an upset on Sunday at home on senior day against the No. 3 Louisville Cardinals.