Hoping to even the season series with Boston College on the road after falling at home in early January, Pitt women’s basketball was plagued by poor play in the second and third quarters and fell 70-59 Thursday night.
That makes six straight losses for the Panthers (4-22 overall, 1-14 ACC) and keeps them at the bottom of the ACC standings. But on the bright side, first-year guard Dayshanette Harris had a career game against the Eagles (16-10 overall, 9-6 ACC).
Harris scored a career-high 27 points while shooting 9-26 from the floor, 3-8 from 3-point range and a perfect 6-6 from the foul line. The performance eclipsed her previous high of 26 points, which came in a 78-73 loss to rival Penn State in early September.
With redshirt senior guard Aysia Bugg out for her fifth straight game, Harris was asked to shoulder more of the Panthers’ scoring load. She answered the call, leading the team with 16.75 points per game while increasing her scoring each game.
Harris’ great offensive play was on display early in the game, as Pitt took a 12-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Harris only shot 1-5 from the field, but managed to get to the foul line and make her first four free throws.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, the rest of the game wouldn’t be so easy, as they struggled to shoot and got involved in foul trouble.
Harris played only four minutes in the second quarter after picking up her second foul, and first-year forward Rita Igbokwe picked up her second and third fouls of the game within a span of 30 seconds, forcing her to the bench as well.
The Eagles took advantage of the duo’s absence, outscoring the Panthers 16-9 in the second quarter to lead 27-21 at halftime.
Harris took over in the third quarter, scoring all 12 of the Panthers’ points on 5-11 shooting, including 2-4 from 3-point range. With her teammates often reluctant to shoot, Harris utilized her stepback jump shot to create space and get better looks at the hoop.
The other Panthers shot 0-5 in the quarter, demonstrating the reliance on Harris to lead the scoring for this young, inexperienced team.
Harris’ outburst wasn’t enough to keep pace with Boston College, as the Eagles scored 23 points on an efficient 9-14 shooting to extend their lead.
Pitt fought hard to narrow the deficit in the fourth quarter, employing a full-court press and out-rebounding Boston College 12-6. The Panthers also shot 4-8 from 3-point range and 6-7 from the foul line.
Harris scored seven points on 3-7 shooting before fouling out, while Igbokwe also fouled out late in the quarter.
Junior guard Gabbie Green scored seven points and finally flashed her shooting ability from behind the arc, making two of her four shots, while first-year guard Amber Brown chipped in two buckets.
Pitt scored a game-high 26 points in the quarter, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit. Boston College maintained its quality offensive play, making seven of its 11 shots in the fourth quarter.
In a season full of looking for silver linings, Panther fans can draw encouragement from the team’s stellar performance from the foul line. Pitt went 13-15, or 86.7%, on free throws — a vast improvement over its ACC-worst 60.8% free throw shooting coming into Thursday.
Pitt will play its final home game of the season on Sunday as the Panthers take on one of the best teams in the ACC and the country, No. 5 Louisville.