Hoyas hang on for win over Pitt, 66-56


Carolyn Pallof | Staff Photographer

First-year guard Amber Brown pushes through Georgetown’s defense.

By Dominic Campbell, Senior Staff Writer

Looking to capitalize off its big comeback win last Monday against Central Connecticut State, the Pitt women’s basketball team played Georgetown on Saturday afternoon with hopes of defeating its former Big East foe. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they fell short, losing 66-56 at the Petersen Events Center.

Pitt (1-2 overall) played a back-and-forth game with the Hoyas (1-2 overall) and even had a lead as high as 11 in the second quarter, but couldn’t stay consistent throughout the game. Head coach Lance White spoke afterward about how his team has struggled with consistency this season.

“I’m disappointed in our team’s ability to handle success and then the consistency,” White said. “At times I thought we played like you need to. You rebound the ball and then you have a chance to go make plays on offense, but then once we got a lead, we don’t understand that next piece of how you have to keep a lead and how hard you have to play through that…”

Pitt started the game shooting hot from beyond the arc, scoring its first nine points off 3-pointers. 

Georgetown responded with an 11-3 run to take an 11-9 lead with 5:17 remaining in the first quarter. Graduate guard Brianna Jones scored six points on two free throws, a layup and a jumper to lead Georgetown on the run. 

The Panthers were able to take control after the run, scoring 11 points to the Hoyas’ five to end the quarter up 20-16. First-year guards Emy Hayford and Amber Brown scored nine of the 11 points.

The second quarter saw the best of this young Panthers’ team and also some of the worst. After playing it close for the first three minutes they embarked on a 10-0 run over two minutes to take an 11-point lead. Brown made two free throws, first-year forward Rita Igbokwe scored in the paint, redshirt senior guard Aysia Bugg converted an and-one opportunity and Hayford made a 3-pointer to cap the run.

But again Georgetown responded with a streak of its own, outscoring Pitt 15-2 to enter halftime up 38-36. Sophomore guard Cassandra Gordon and first-year forward Graceann Bennett combined for 11 of the 15 points on the run, with each scoring seven and four points, respectively. 

Both teams shot abysmally in the third quarter, with the Panthers going four of 18 from the field and the Hoyas going four of 16. The teams combined to score only three baskets over the first five minutes of play. 

Pitt got back in rhythm with an 8-0 run late in the quarter, as first-year guard Dayshanette Harris scored four points on a mid-range jumper and two free throws and Hayford scored twice on fast-break layups. The Panthers led at the end of the third quarter, 47-46.

Igbowke and Brown both scored to start the fourth quarter, giving the Panthers a 51-46 lead with around 8:30 remaining. But the Hoyas quickly retaliated with an 11-1 run over the next three minutes to take a 57-52 lead. 

Coming out of the media timeout, Bugg hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two, sparking hope of Pitt getting back on track. What happened was the complete opposite, as Georgetown finished the final four minutes of the game on a 9-1 run to win 66-56. Tayanna Jones hit from behind the arc, Gordon scored a jumper, Barnes converted twice from the free throw line and senior Anita Kelava scored a layup to finish off Pitt.

The Panthers’ shooting numbers worsened in the fourth — they shot made three of 15 shots from the field and one of five from 3-point range. Bugg said afterward that Pitt lost its mental edge late in the game.

“I just think it was a lack of focus,” she said. “I think we came out great and we had great mentality … It takes maturity to keep that composure, keep playing solid.”

While White was disappointed with the final result, he singled out praise for Hayford, who scored 13 points off the bench and grabbed four rebounds. 

“I think [Hayford] is gaining more confidence in herself and she’s going to be a real good college player,” White said. “She’s fast, her length is really good, shoots the ball well and I think she’s going to be fun here as she gains a little more experience.”

The Panthers will try to get back on track on Tuesday when they play Fairleigh Dickinson in the annual School Day game, where local schools bring students to the Petersen Events Center for an 11:00 a.m. tip-off.