Pitt continues to struggle in ACC play, fall to Eagles 75-64

Pitt+junior+guard+Emy+Hayford+%284%29+controls+the+ball+at+Thursday%E2%80%99s+game+against+Boston+College+at+the+Petersen+Events+Center.+

Hannah Wilson | Senior Staff Photographer

Pitt junior guard Emy Hayford (4) controls the ball at Thursday’s game against Boston College at the Petersen Events Center.

By Will McGlynn, Staff Writer

In what ended up as a blowout, Pitt women’s basketball took on the Boston College Eagles (12-4, 3-2 ACC) at home Thursday night. The Panthers couldn’t get it going on offense and they once again fell short against the veteran Boston College team 75-64 — marking the team’s fifth straight loss in conference play.

Pitt (9-7, 0-5 ACC) came out a bit sloppy and careless with the ball to start. The Panthers’ first possession featured a miscommunication leading to a backcourt violation. On their first defensive possession, they fumbled a rebound out of bounds.

Pitt sophomore guard Taisha Exanor (3) attempts to make a basket at Thursday’s game against Boston College at the Petersen Events Center. (Hannah Wilson | Senior Staff Photographer )

Despite the sloppy start, the Panthers made up for it when junior center Rita Igbokwe led a  strong, physical defense. Igbokwe blocked a shot in the paint then scored on the other end for the first points of the night. She finished the game with seven points and five blocks.

With 4:09 to go in the first quarter, Pitt held an 8-4 lead but neither team could find any sort of rhythm on offense. Boston College finally got things going when senior forward Taylor Soule hit two free throws to break the scoring drought. The Eagles roared to the end of the first quarter outscoring Pitt 17-8 in the final four minutes.

Sign up for our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox three times a week.

While Pitt was within reach at the start of the quarter, the Eagles capitalized on a Pitt drought. The Panthers missed shot after shot and committed multiple turnovers while Boston College started to pull away.

With 7:41 to go in the half, junior forward Amber Brown threw the ball way over junior guard Dayshanette Harris’ head for a Pitt turnover. Harris traveled on the ensuing possession, and Pitt remained scoreless until senior guard Jayla Everett hit a free throw with just over six minutes left in the quarter. The Eagles pulled away for a double-digit 38-25 lead to end the half.

Pitt had more success to start the second half, scoring the first five points to cut the deficit to single digits. Harris was hot to start the half, scoring Pitt’s first 3-pointer and followed that up with a mid-range jumper on the next possession.

Pitt senior guard Jayla Everett (20) at Thursday’s game against Boston College at the Petersen Events Center. (Hannah Wilson | Senior Staff Photographer )

But the offensive surge was short-lived. Boston College quickly found its offense rhythm, beating Pitt with quick passes on the perimeter and backdoor cuts to generate easy baskets. Boston College senior guard Cameron Swartz and first-year forward Maria Gakdeng tore up the Pitt defense and put the game away by scoring a combined 28 points.

This game was over by the time the fourth quarter rolled around. Everett missed a jump shot to start the quarter, which Pitt followed up with back-to-back turnovers — summing up the night’s struggles. Boston College scored the first six points of the quarter, all of which were uncontested layups.

Pitt continued to play up-tempo against the Eagles, especially when Harris had the ball in her hands. The Panthers played aggressive defense and sprinted the ball up the court all night after Boston College missed shots.

But Harris and the Pitt offense had trouble holding the ball once the game slowed down and the Panthers finished with 23 turnovers. Pitt resorted to a 1-3-1 zone to pressure the ball more and funnel the shots toward Igbokwe, but ultimately Boston College moved the ball around and found open shots to pull the Panthers back out of the zone.

Pitt struggled to shoot from deep with no real threat from the perimeter besides Everett. The Panthers shot 0-7 from behind the arch in the first half while Boston College shot 44.4% for the game. But Pitt’s shooting troubles didn’t stop there. They also struggled from the free-throw line despite having success drawing fouls, shooting just 15-24 from the stripe.

After another loss, Pitt will play the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (12-5, 2-4 ACC) on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center. The game will stream on ACCNX.