Harris’ big night not enough in 78-73 loss to PSU

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Carolyn Pallof | Staff Photographer

First-year guard Dayshanette Harris (1) accounted for 26 of Pitt’s points during the Panthers' 78-73 loss to the Nittany Lions.

By Trent Leonard, Sports Editor

Pitt women’s basketball traveled to State College Thursday night to face in-state rival Penn State as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Each team had five players on the court at all times, though the contest sure seemed like a game of one-on-one.

The Panthers lost 78-73 in a game that served as a breakthrough for first-year guard Dayshanette Harris. In a down night for fifth-year guard Aysia Bugg, who shot an ugly 3-14 from the field for 11 points, Harris stepped up with a career-high 26 points on 10-20 shooting.

Harris further stuffed the stat sheet with a career-high six rebounds and four steals while adding four assists. She was overshadowed, however, by a career performance on the other side from Penn State junior guard Kamaria McDaniel.

Pitt had no answer for McDaniel, who poured in a career-high 40 points on 14-28 shooting, including 10-15 from the free-throw line. She excelled at getting into the lane and drawing contact from Pitt defenders, including an and-one basket with 3:38 remaining that saw Harris foul out of the game.

The two teams battled like equals for three out of four quarters, with Pitt actually outscoring the Nittany Lions in the third and fourth while drawing even in the first. But the second quarter — in which the Panthers shot just 5-15 from the field, made no free throws and were outscored 23-11 — proved to be the deciding factor.

Taking a 34-22 deficit into halftime, the Panthers did all they could to claw their way back into the game. They outscored the opposition 23-19 and 28-25 in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, shooting 5-12 on 3-pointers during that stretch. It ultimately wasn’t enough, as the Nittany Lions leaned heavily on McDaniel to lead them to the promised land — none of her teammates scored more than 11 points.

For Pitt, first-year guard Amber Brown also turned in the best performance of her young career, recording her best marks in points (16) and tying her best in rebounds (12).

Pitt has now lost three of its last four to fall to 3-5 on the season, though the improving performance of the team’s young stars is certainly encouraging. The Panthers will look to get back in the win column when they host Stony Brook on Sunday at 2 p.m.

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