Women’s basketball, men’s soccer wins highlight busy Thanksgiving week for Pitt athletics

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AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Pitt senior forward Daniel Oladapo (4) passes the ball at Wednesday’s game against Vanderbilt University at the Petersen Events Center.

By Alexander Ganias, Staff Writer

Pitt broke to observe the Thanksgiving holiday last week. But the Pitt Athletics department still had games to play. Here’s how each team fared over the course of the week.

Men’s basketball

Pitt men’s basketball (2-4, 0-0 ACC) played the first game of a two-year home-and-home against Vanderbilt (4-1, 0-0 SEC) last Wednesday, and the Panthers lost 68-52. Vanderbilt sophomore guard Trey Thomas and Pitt sophomore guard Femi Odukale both had 14 points for their respective squads. 

Pitt entered the half only down two points, but Vanderbilt outscored the home team 44-29 in the second half to seal the win. The Panthers did shoot 73% from the free throw line, but only shot 36% from the field.

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Pitt extended its losing streak on Saturday against UMBC (4-2, 0-0 America East), 87-77. The Retrievers shot 48% from the field, as senior guards Keondre Kennedy and L.J. Owens scored a combined 37 points. Pitt sophomore forward John Hugley had 21 points and Odukale had 19, but no other starter had more than 10.

The Panthers will continue their homestand with the ACC/Big Ten Challenge against Minnesota on Tuesday. This game will be broadcast on ESPNU at 7 p.m.

Women’s basketball

The Panthers (5-2, 0-0 ACC) improved their record to 4-0 on Nov. 20 with a 69-64 win over their crosstown rivals, the Duquesne Dukes (1-4, 0-0 A-10), in the City Game. 

The two schools — separated by just a couple of miles — played a close, back-and-forth match. Graduate student guard Fatou Pouye led the Dukes with 17 points, which helped Duquesne hold a slim 50-48 lead over Pitt through three quarters. 

But Pitt’s senior guard Jayla Everett kept pace with 18 points. The Panthers also got some help from sophomore forward Liatu King, who scored 12 points and picked up nine boards as Pitt pulled away in the final quarter to win the City Game.

The undefeated Panthers then travelled to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam. They played a low-scoring game against No. 23 Texas A&M on Thanksgiving Day, until the Aggies went on an 11-0 run in the final quarter to pull ahead and win the game 57-46.

Junior guard Dayshanette Harris had 16 points off the bench, and sophomore forward Liatu King had 10 points and 19 rebounds. Senior guard Jayla Everett did not play against the Aggies.

Everett and Harris missed the second game of the Jam the next day, but the Panthers did just fine without them, defeating the Northwestern Wildcats 72-60. King had her second-straight double-double with 23 points and 19 rebounds, while junior guard Emy Hayford added eight points and three assists of her own. 

The Panthers finished their trip to the Virgin Islands with a loss to South Dakota, 72-61 in overtime. Harris came back from rest and scored 18 points. King had an off-night with only two points and five rebounds, but she sent the game into OT with a late bucket. The Coyotes outscored Pitt 12-5 in the extra frame to pick up the victory.

Pitt will return to the Pete on Wednesday to host Rutgers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. This game will be broadcast on the ACC Network at 6 p.m.

Men’s soccer

After earning the fifth seed and a first-round bye, the Panthers hosted Northern Illinois in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament on Saturday. Pitt defeated NIU 5-3, but those three goals were the most it has given up since its 3-1 loss to Wake Forest on Sept. 17. It was also the most goals they’ve given up at home since Sept. 9, 2019, when the Panthers tied Delaware 3-3.

But the Panthers still won. Goals from first-year forward Guilherme Feitosa, sophomore forward Bertin Jacquesson, graduate student midfielder Jackson Walti, junior midfielder Valentin Noel and graduate student forward Alexander Dexter helped propel the Panthers into the Sweet 16.

They faced Hofstra in the next round, after the Pride dismantled 12th-seeded Penn State 8-2 in the previous round. The Panthers made easy work of them, winning 4-0 off the back of junior defender Raphaël Crivello’s two-goal performance.

They will play Notre Dame in the Elite Eight on Saturday.  

Swimming and Diving

Pitt swimmers and divers travelled to Columbus, Ohio, the weekend before Thanksgiving to compete in the Ohio State invitational. The Panthers men finished sixth out of 10 schools with 1,219 points, while the women finished seventh with 834. Despite its bottom-half finishes, Pitt set new school records and qualified for the NCAA Championships in certain races to make up for it. 

Juniors Kayla Graham, Tatum Detwiler and Kate Fuhrmann as well as sophomore Sophie Yendell set the Pitt record for the fastest 200-yard medley relay, with a time of 1:39.13, and finished eighth. Senior Cooper Van der Laan set a school record in the 100-yard breaststroke and won the preliminary race in 51.42 seconds. He broke the previous record of 51.52 seconds, which Van der Laan set himself last season. Finally, sophomore Marcin Goraj usurped the previous 200-yard backstroke record of 1:44.17 with a time of 1:43.81 in the preliminary race. He then broke that record by nearly a full second in the final race, finishing with a 1:42.92 time.

Along with the personal records, 17 Pitt times were enough to qualify for the NCAA Championships. They will travel to Greensboro, North Carolina, to compete in the Toyota U.S. Open for their next meet. This will take place from Wednesday to Saturday.

Wrestling:

No. 15 Pitt (3-1, 0-0 ACC) wrestling dropped its first match of the young season at Lehigh to the Mountain Hawks 25-6 on Nov. 21. The Panthers only won three of the 10 bouts, but one of those wins came from last year’s national 197-pound runner-up and redshirt senior Nino Bonaccorsi, who wrestled in his first match since returning from the U23 world championships in Serbia.

He defeated sophomore JT Davis 10-4 in the 197-pound bout, but that wasn’t nearly enough to put Pitt over the top. Redshirt junior Cole Matthews and redshirt senior Gregg Harvey won the other two bouts.

The Panthers bounced back the next day, defeating the Maryland Terrapins 26-7 in their home-opener. They won eight of the 10 bouts, including each of the first six. Junior Jake Slinger won the final bout of the evening, defeating redshirt senior Zach Schrader 3-1 in sudden victory. 

Up next, Pitt will travel to Ohio State on Dec. 12 to face off against the Buckeyes.