Pitt loses 24th game at Virginia, 66-55

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Kaycee Orwig | Senior Staff Photographer

First-year guard Amber Brown pushes past Louisville’s Yacine Diop.

By Dominic Campbell, Senior Staff Writer

Pitt women’s basketball traveled to Virginia Thursday night for a penultimate regular season clash, hoping to snag its first road victory in ACC play.

The Panthers played close throughout — it was a one-possession game with four minutes remaining — but fell victim to foul trouble and poor defense, allowing Virginia to run away with a 66-55 victory.

The loss is Pitt’s (4-24 overall, 1-16 ACC) eighth in a row and 24th on the season, tying the most single-season losses in program history. Also, having shot 34% in Thursday’s loss to the Cavaliers (13-15 overall, 8-9 ACC), the Panthers have shot below 40% in 18 straight games, highlighting their biggest weakness.

Pitt surprisingly started the game on top, going on a 9-2 run over the first two minutes. It didn’t last long, however, as Virginia responded with a 12-1 run of its own, prompting Pitt head coach Lance White to call a quick timeout.

The Panthers took advantage of the timeout, outscoring Virginia 10-8 to finish off the quarter trailing just two points, 22-20.

Pitt fell victim to the turnover bug in the second quarter, coughing the ball up a whopping nine times. Its errors allowed the Cavaliers to open up a sizable 35-27 lead by halftime.

White’s frustrations with his team continued in the third quarter, as he called two timeouts during the first six minutes to try and get the Panthers back into the game.

With Pitt trailing by 12 with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter, first-year guard Dayshanette Harris took control for the Panthers and knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the deficit to six.

From there, the teams traded buckets and Virginia led 50-44 going into a contentious fourth quarter, showing how valuable Harris is to Pitt when she’s on top of her game.

Virginia quickly stretched its lead back to 12 over the first few minutes of the fourth quarter and it looked like the game was out of reach for Pitt.

Instead of crumbling under the tough circumstances like they have many times this year, the Panthers instead made three 3-pointers. First-year guards Ismini Prapa and Emy Hayford, along with junior Gabbie Green, all chipped in to make it a single-possession game at 56-53.

In the previous four games, Pitt had outscored its opponent in the fourth quarter. Trailing by just three points, the Panthers needed to maintain that streak to get their first ACC road win.

Harris scored a layup with 4:08 remaining to keep the score at 58-55, but unfortunately for Pitt, those were the last points that any Panther would score for the rest of the game.

The Panthers missed their last six shots and Harris fouled out with just over two minutes left, ending her night as Pitt’s leading scorer with 19 points and six assists.

The Cavaliers outscored the Panthers 8-0 down the stretch thanks to senior guard Jocelyn Willoughby, who scored a layup and made two free throws. Willoughby, the leading scorer in the ACC at 19.8 points per game, scored 20 against the Panthers.

Pitt will close out its regular season Sunday with a road game against Miami before playing in the ACC Tournament starting next Wednesday.

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