Pitt athletics had a busy weekend, as five teams took part in events. While men’s basketball’s win over UNC grabbed most of the headlines, other squads suited up for both conference and non-conference play — and experienced a mixed bag of results.
Women’s basketball sustains conference skid
Pitt women’s basketball fell at the hands of Syracuse, 69-51 on Sunday. The loss stretches the losing streak to 10 games, keeps them winless in conference play and reaffirms their dead last positioning in the ACC standings.
The Panthers came out hot early, scoring 22 points in the first quarter and holding a five-point lead going into the second. But they were unable to keep the lead for long, and they trailed at halftime before collapsing down the stretch.
Pitt kept pace with Syracuse and cut the lead to single digits early in the third quarter, before falling apart offensively and watching the game slip away. The offense that carried the team to open the game was nowhere to be seen as the clock ticked down. The Panthers managed only four points in the final quarter. As a team, Pitt made only one field goal in the final 10 minutes and missed 12.
The Panthers will look to right the ship on Thursday when they host No. 9 NC State for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Swimming and diving sweeps Denison
Pitt swimming and diving opened its 2020 home schedule with a bang on Friday, winning all 32 events against the Denison Big Red. The meet was an all-around display of dominance for the Panthers, who hope to carry the momentum into the next two weekends of competition.
Pitt won all 28 swimming events and each of the four diving contests. Swimmers Kayla Graham, Serhii Ahadzhanian, Kate Fuhrmann, Eben Vorster, Blaise Vera, Cooper Van Der Laan and Valerie Daigneault led the way with multiple wins each.
Pitt will be back at home next weekend as they get set to host the annual Western Pennsylvania Invitational at Trees Pool.
Gymnastics falls to Ball State by slim margin
The Panthers matched the Ball State Cardinals stride-for-stride on Sunday before eventually falling by the narrowest of margins, 193.750-193.225. The event was not without triumph for the Panthers, as four of the team’s members earned individual wins.
First-year Ciara Ward earned the day’s highest score on the vault, posting 9.775 for her first career individual win. She was one of three Panthers to post career-high vault scores.
Senior Michaela Burton earned a 9.825 on the bars and a 9.875 on the floor exercise event, both highs for the day. Fellow fourth-year Deven Herbine was the meet’s top balance beam performer, earning a 9.800.
Pitt posted season-best team scores on the vault, bars and floor, but still fell to the Cardinals. The Panthers’ next event will be held Saturday at UNC.
Track travels to Blacksburg for Virginia Tech Invitational
Pitt faced a plethora of competition in Blacksburg over the weekend, as teams from Virginia, Wake Forest, VCU, North Carolina, UNC Charlotte, Elon, Tennessee, Howard, Duke, Pitt, Liberty and host Virginia Tech all took part in the meet.
Pitt had numerous strong performances over the weekend, highlighted by two individual victories in Friday’s competition. Panther victors were Shyheim Wright (men’s 60m Hurdles) and Nikki Scherer (women’s 500m). Additional highlights came from Sarah Frick (women’s 5000m), Noah Walker (men’s weight), Nick Wolk (men’s 1-mile) and Josh Higgins (men’s 3000m), all of whom placed in the top three.
Men’s basketball wins second straight vs. UNC
Pitt men’s basketball has played two outstanding halves of basketball against UNC in two seperate games. In Chapel Hill last week, a hot-shooting second half powered Pitt to its first-ever win at North Carolina. Then on Saturday, a strong first half was enough for the Panthers to survive dreadful late game execution for a 66-52 win.