Duke ends Pitt Women’s Basketball season, 86-64


Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Senior forward Danielle Garven (01) led Pitt’s offense with 16 points during the team’s 86-64 loss to Duke in the first round of the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament.

By Dominic Campbell, Staff Wrtier

For the third-straight year, Pitt’s women’s basketball season has ended in the first round of the ACC Championship Tournament. This year it was Duke that stopped the Panthers from ascending, winning 86-64 Wednesday night at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The loss ensures the Panthers (11-20 overall, 2-15 ACC) will remain winless against Duke (15-14 overall, 7-10 ACC), having never beaten the Devils in the entirety of their program history (0-11 overall, and 0-7 in ACC play). While the game ended up being a blowout, the first half went back and forth, with the game in anyone’s hands before the Blue Devils took control in the second half to get the win.

The first quarter was defined by both teams trading baskets, but it was Duke that got the edge and went into the second quarter with a 16-13 lead. Senior forward Danielle Garven scored eight points on three jumpers and a layup on the fast break, finishing the game with 16 points for Pitt.

Sophomore center Cara Judkins, sophomore guard Kyla Nelson and junior guard Jasmine Whitney also contributed to the Panthers’ 13-point first quarter. Judkins made a foul shot, Nelson scored a layup and a 3-pointer and Whitney also notched a three.

During the same time, the Blue Devils’ offense was spearheaded by its two guards, redshirt junior Haley Gorecki and first-year Miela Goodchild. Gorecki made a 3-pointer and a layup on the fast break and Goodchild made two 3-pointers. Duke also had help from senior guard/forward Faith Suggs, who made a 3-pointer and sophomore forward/center Jade Williams, who scored down low.

Pitt struggled shooting in the first quarter, going 6-15 from the field — shooting just 40 percent, including 0-4 from 3-point range. Duke, on the other hand, was much more efficient. The Blue Devils shot 6-12, or 50 percent, from the field and 4-7, 57.1 percent, from 3-point range.

The Panthers led the Blue Devils in rebounds, 10-5, and in steals, 3-1.

The second quarter was much like the first. There was a lot of back-and-forth action, but Duke would ultimately emerge victorious, going into halftime with a 36-32 lead.

Both teams traded baskets in the first minute and 30 seconds of the second quarter. Senior guard Cassidy Walsh started the trade-off when she made a 3-pointer. Walsh ended the game with 22 points.

Senior center Kalista Walters then scored at the post for the Panthers. Duke answered when Gorecki scored a 3-pointer and made two foul shots.

Pitt responded with a 9-2 run, prompted by strong 3-point shooting. Walsh, Whitney and Nelson were all able to convert from deep. Duke’s only basket during Pitt’s run came from junior forward Leaonna Odom.

Right after, the Blue Devils got the game back under control as they took a 13-5 run into the half. Five Duke players contributed to the run. Sophomore guard Jayda Adams led the effort with four points. Goodchild added on with a 3-pointer. Suggs, Gorecki and Williams each made layups for Duke. Whitney scored from deep and Garven made a layup to keep the Pitt in the game.

Pitt shot well in the second quarter, going 7-13, 53.8 percent, from the field. It followed that up with impressive 3-point shooting. Pitt was 5-6 from the 3-point arc, shooting 83.3 percent. Duke’s shooting percentages were worse, going 7-15, or 56.7 percent, from the field and just 2-5 from the 3-point line.

The Blue Devils completely took over in the third quarter, outscoring the Panthers 25-11, to increase their lead to 61-43 and end the Panthers’ dreams of finally making it to the second round.

Duke started the quarter on a 12-2 run, with Odom scoring six of those points on a layup, a jumper and two free throws. First-year forward/center Onome Akinbode-James and Goodchild scored layups and Williams made two free throws to round up the scoring for the Blue Devils. All the Panthers were able to get was a jump shot from Garven.

The rest of the quarter was close as Duke had a 13-9 advantage, which gave them an 18-point lead going into the fourth quarter. Goodchild and Adams converted from deep, Williams and Gorecki made layups and Suggs got a jumper to go for the Blue Devils. Meanwhile, the Panthers got a layup from Garven, two jumpers from Whitney and a 3-pointer from Nelson.

Duke improved their shooting in the third quarter going 9-17 from the field, 52.9 percent, and 2-3 from 3-point range. At the same time, Pitt couldn’t get many shots to go in, shooting 5-15 from the field, 33.3 percent, and just 1-3 from the 3-point range.

The Blue Devils continued their great offensive production into the fourth quarter, starting off on a 10-3 run. Goodchild kept scoring well for Duke, making a 3-pointer and two free throws, while Adams made a 3-pointer and Gorecki scored a layup. Walsh hit a 3-pointer for Pitt, which was her 100th 3-pointer overall for her collegiate career.

After the run, both teams traded baskets until the buzzer sounded and the Blue Devils had won the game, despite Pitt outscoring them 18-16 in the fourth quarter. Walsh made a jumper and another 3-pointer, which set a new program record for four 3-pointers in an ACC tournament game. Nelson also made a 3-pointer and two free throws, giving her 13 points, a career high for her. Other players who scored for the Panthers were Judkins with a layup and two foul shots, first-year guard Ismini Prapa with two free throws and Garven with a jumper.

Suggs was on fire down the stretch for the Blue Devils, scoring nine of the final 16 points on two layups, a jumper and a 3-pointer. Three other players scored for the Blue Devils, with Adams making a 3-pointer, Gorecki scoring a layup on the fast break and Akinbode-James getting a layup down in the paint.

The fourth quarter was an even better shooting performance for Duke, as it went 10-14 from the field, or 71.4 percent, and 4-5 from 3-point range. Pitt still struggled shooting, going 6-17 from the field, or 35.3 percent, and 3-7, or 42.9 percent, on 3-pointers.

With the loss, the season is over for the Panthers, who are ending their first season with head coach Lance White with the same conference record as last season.